Tuesday, 12 June 2018

DIY Natural Hair Spray

This guest post is by Jodie Wakefield who lives in Perth with her husband, two children and dog and is passionate about creating a low-environmental-impact life.  

I stumbled into my passion for all things eco-friendly from an initial interest in improving the health of my children.  Having suffered with exhaustion, poor gut health and innumerable food intolerances myself, I was determined to steer my son in a different direction when he began displaying similar symptoms.  (Insert hours spent on webinars, reading books and blogs; too many naturopath appointments to count and a pantry newly stocked with organic, crazy-sounding ingredients.)  Despite absolute commitment, no improvements to health were enjoyed until I began eliminating environmental toxins from the home – the final piece of the puzzle.  From this, the whole family began to reap the rewards of better health, restorative sleep and reduced allergy symptoms.

And I have not looked back!  My house is now cleaned with tox-free products, the family enjoys a diet crammed with wholefoods, beauty routines have been simplified, and many, many hours saved with this lifestyle change.  

With new-found energy I am currently directing my attention toward environmental issues and tackling the ‘war on plastic’ with vigour.  You can follow me via facebook (https://www.facebook.com/greenbeyou) and my blog (https://greenbeyou.wordpress.com/) where I share information (successes and failures) and welcome collaboration for all things sustainable.

Looking for a DIY hairspray that is tox-free, easy to make, works like a charm, brushes out, saves money and time when compared to store-bought items and gives you an excuse to keep vodka handy?  Yes please!

Here is my DIY hairspray recipe which I have fine-tuned over several years of use:


  • In a saucepan, bring to the boil 2 to 3 roughly chopped lemons in just enough water to cover them.  Optional: add sprigs of rosemary* for the essential oil benefits. 
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 15mins. The water quantity will reduce significantly. 
  • Leave to cool in the pan.
  • Add 1tbs of vodka. (This helps reduce frizz and delays the natural urge for your hairspray to grow bacteria: see below for storage). 
  • Strain the liquid into spray bottles and store in the fridge.

STORAGE: Because the hairspray is made with real lemon juice, it is best kept in the fridge for freshness and will then last months.  You may wish to fill two small bottles and keep one in the freezer until you’ve used up the first bottle.
APPLICATION TIPS: The hairspray has a strong hold (more lemons = stronger hold) and will dampen hair on application.  Best results are achieved by blow-drying / straightening/ curling the hair after applying the hairspray and then a very light spritz once styled.

FINAL STEP: Be gorgeous!

*NOTE by JOLI: stinging nettle can also be added for it's health benefits on hair. Rosemary encourages hair growth and helps restore colour (plus it smells nice).  Nettle also helps with falling hair and dandruff.

DIY natural hair spray at work

Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Many Faces of JOLI

I wanted to write this blog to show you that there is so much more to JOLI (aka me) than natural skin care.  While natural skin care is a big part of my world, living naturally in many other aspects is also important to me (and for my family).  Like all people I am multifaceted and have numerous talents, in fact I could say I'm a veritable Martha Stewart of the natural world. 

When I'm not making natural skin care I'm making hot chilli sauce.

When I'm not making hot chilli sauce I'm growing my own produce.

When I'm not growing my own produce I'm making home made snacks.

When I'm not making home made snacks I'm preserving foods.

When I'm not preserving foods I'm cooking wholesome meals for my family.

When I'm not cooking wholesome meals for my family I'm singing.

When I'm not singing I'm teaching my children to cook.

When I'm not teaching my children to cook I'm growing my own herbal teas.

When I'm not growing my own herbal teas I'm making a home for my birds.

When I'm not making a home for my birds I'm making art.

When I'm not making art I'm being a good mother.

When I'm not being a good mother I'm making DIY videos.

When I'm not making DIY videos I'm educating people about chemicals in skin care.

When I'm not educating people about chemicals I'm playing Queen of The Nile.

When I'm not playing Queen of The Nile I'm struggling.

When I'm not struggling I'm having a breakout.

When I'm not having a breakout I'm dancing.

When I'm not dancing I'm colouring in with my children.

When I'm not colouring in with my children I'm living naturally.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Bath Time, It's A Ritual

For many having a bath is a luxury.  Many don't have the time or the freedom (children) to indulge in a long hot soak in the tub.

I'm no different to many in that regard.  When I do have a bath it has to be planned just right.  I.e. hubby must be home to mind the children or I wait until the children are in bed so I can enjoy my soak uninterrupted.

Baths maybe a luxury that I don't get to indulge in often, however, when I do get the chance to have a bath I make a point of making it a Beauty Queen ritual.  I use this time to fully indulge and relax and rejuvenate my mind and body.

I start with:

1) Stretch.  Yep, firstly I warm up my muscles in the hot water then I stretch any stiff body parts.  Moving in warm water helps the body be supple, without jarring joints and muscles.

2) Face. Then I clean my face while the water is still fresh and clean.

3) Hair.  I was my hair next, then soak for a bit letting the soaps, butters and oils I've added to the water do their thing (i.e. moisturise my skin).

4) Body.  I like to rub Luscious Body Butter or Massage Oil over my body so richly moisturise.

5) Feet.  Lastly I do my feet, soaking the heals, pumicing the hard parts of my feet, then moisturising.  Then I hop out because by now I'm grodied up the water... * wink

How to use Rose Bath Bomb or other:

1) Slowly lower the bath bomb into water in your hand.  Don't let go.  Watch it fizzing and releasing all the goodness within.

2) Move the bath bomb around water and watch it dispurse in the water.  If it has some colour to it there will be a nice trail of colour.

3) Drop the bath bomb in and enjoy.  That is: enjoy your soak in the bath while the oils/butters/clays etc. in the bath bomb work their magic on your skin and senses.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

How My Depression Gets In The Way

On a date with hubby and too down to smile... :(
For the past several weeks I've been struggling to want to get out of bed, to face the world, to get the work done, to exist... to smile.

I had been feeling pretty good for a couple of months then all of a sudden, without notice, I came crashing down and haven't been able to shake this mood.

It's how I've always been and as much as I don't like being this way there isn't anything I can do to change who/how I am.  I can do as many positive things as I can to try and move through the feeling but I'll never be like those shiny happy people who manage to face the world day in day out.

It's one of the reason I work for myself, because it isn't acceptable (yet) for an employee to ring work and say, "I can't come in today because I'm struggling to get out of bed."  We can have migraines, colds, flu, death in the family etc. but we cannot call up and say, "I have depression... can't come in."

My depression gets in the way of friendships, work, my relationship, my children...

Friendships are affected because sometimes I just can't face people, can't face answering the phone, talking to people, seeing people.  For the most part I can fake it.  I can go out with friends and fake smile and try to laugh at their funny jokes and stories yet inside I'm dying a little from the struggle of having to 'act'.

Work (the home salon) is even harder because my energy affects those who are near me, especially one on one.  If I have weeks were I can barely function because I can't crack a smile... this energy will spill out of me and I find I don't get clients when I'm in these moods - surprise surprise!  Needless to say it doesn't surprise me my home salon is not thriving...  My moods swings can be too extreme for me to function.

It affects my children in that I won't go to their school for interviews or organise play dates if I'm in a mood.  And quite often I avoid people simply because they won't understand why I'm suddenly being antisocial and unable to interact with them or be pleasant.  Instead I shy away and avoid contact.

It affects my relationship because my partner probably thought he was getting someone 'normal' (what ever that looks like) only to find he has a woman who will mope around for days/weeks and struggle to get out of bed.  He has said he wishes I'd get a 'real' job... he thinks that would make me better/less sad/less time to think and be down.  If only it were that easy.  I remember working outside the house and how torturous it was for me and for those I worked with - when I would be all sad and moody and people would have to deal with my sad moods.

This is why I sell online!!!!  I can still be down from behind my computer screen and get the job done.  No one needs to see my sad face or feel my sad vibes or even know I have depression.  I can still reply to emails and questions and do online things without it affecting my lovely customers.  I might struggle to get out of bed but it's rare that I won't get an order done because I feel down, mostly because making products is a flow activity for me which can help with my moods.

Do you have depression?  How does it affect your life?  How do you deal with your mood swings when they happen?

Monday, 9 April 2018

My Garden Keeps Me Alive

If not for my garden I might go a little stir crazy.  Inside the house is tedious at times and even more so because I spend most of my there.  Sure I can paint or colour in, I can create or read a book.  Yet outside is so much more appealing, even on cloudy days (especially on cloudy days!)

random garden art: two old metal bars through wire fencing

It's nice to get out in the garden, check on how plants are doing, check out how they're growing and what they're producing, or check if they're dying and need more attention.  It might be new flours, new fruit, new leaves, new growth... exponential growth.

There is nothing clean lined or neat about my garden.  It's a jungle with interesting bits of undergrowth and hidden plants, spots of garden art and favourite sitting areas.  Mind you what I call garden art is random bits of stuff (maybe junk to some) that I kind of piece together to make something 'eye catching' - or just 'there', 'different'.  Nothing particularly 'arty' about them.

shady spot to sit under the olive tree
I don't have a lot of muscles... well technically I have the same as everyone else - though not quite as strong... but I do like to use them by rolling heavy pots about, digging, cutting wire, pruning, climbing up and down ladders.  Gardening is an active thing.

There is also the produce which the whole family enjoys: pumpkins, olives, herbs, lemons.  It's all very exciting to go out and find things are thriving or ready to enjoy.  Being able to grown and eat things from the garden makes it just a little bit more special, more personal, more enjoyable.  Plus the neighbours grown different things and sometimes we get to trade.

always something to see or find
Things I never / rarely have to do: weeding [link], lawn moving, pulling out, killing off.  The garden was well prepped to combat weeds long term.  There is NO lawn to mow; it's all bark and stones and plants and paths.  It's rare that something requires removing or changing spots.  It's rare that something takes over and requires kulling.

If you're a garden lover what is it about your garden and being outside that appeals to you?

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

How to look after your wooden chopping board

Looking after your wooden chopping board is pretty much the same as looking after your face and body.

When washing your face you apply a cleanser, then a toner that kills off bacteria and hydrates the skin, then you apply a moisturiser.

The same applies with your chopping board.

First you want to clean your chopping board with water and a natural cloth, which acts much like an exfoliating scrub does for your skin - smoothing and refreshing the surface of your board.

Follow with some natural vinegar (making sure it's the real deal i.e. fermented and not a fake vinegar substitute).  This is the antibacterial aspect of the cleanse.  Leave to dry before doing the next step.

Lastly drizzle some olive or coconut oil over your board, not too much, and massage all over the board with your hands (moisturising your hands as well).  Leave to sit for a couple of hours or over night before using.  This allows the oils to penetrate the wood.

When done your dried out dull board will look renewed and refreshed.

clean wooden chopping board with water and eco cloth

tools of the trade: natural vinegar and olive oil

after vinegar application leave to dry

after olive oil application leave to soak in overnight

Monday, 5 March 2018

Leading Brand Claiming To Be Pure & Natural

Using the words 'pure & natural' on their Body Lotion, joining the 'pure, natural, organic' wagon because they know this is what more and more consumers are looking for.

How natural is it really?

The ingredients:
aqua, glycerin, alcohol denatured, cetearyl alcohol (3rd & 4th on the ingredients listing which means there's a lot of alcohol - though yes technically alcohol is natural), isopropyl palmitate, glyceryl stearate citrate, octyldodecanol, argania spinosa kernel oil, glyceryl glucoside, sodium carbomer, methylisothiazolinone, phenoxyethanol, linalool, limonene, citronellol, benzyl alcohol, butylphenyl methylpropional, alpha-isomethyl ionone, geraniol, parfum.

Can you read all that? It's hard to know what's in the product with all those technical names and there are a number of ingredients in there that I personally choose to AVOID.

So let's investigate.
  1. isopropyl palmitate = it's a type of stearic palmitic acid with alcohol
  2. glyceryl stearate citrate = is a citric acid
  3. octyldodecanol = a long chain fatty alcohol
  4. argania spinosa kernel oil = argan oil
  5. sodium carbomer = sodium salt of carbomer
  6. methylisothiazolinone = preservative [hazard rating 5 out of 10 - irritation]
  7. phenoxyethanol = prservative
  8. linalool = is a terpene (a large group of volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants, especially conifers and citrus trees) [hazard rating 6 out of 10 - irritation]
  9. limonene = limonene is a scent ingredient and solvent naturally occurring in the rind of citrus fruit
  10. citronellol = a natural occurring scent derived from plants
  11. benzyl alcohol = a naturally occurring and synthetic ingredient used as solvent and preservative; has been associated with contact allergy.
  12. butylphenyl methylpropional (also called lilial) = is a synthetic scent ingredient; associated with allergies and contact dermatitis [hazard rating 7 out of 10]
  13. alpha-isomethyl ionone = a group of naturally occurring and synthetically produced scent chemicals
  14. geraniol = a naturally occurring scent oil found in plants [hazard rating 7 out of 10]
  15. parfum = fragrance [high hazard rating]
The product is 'pure & natural' because it contains NO parabens, silicones, colorants or mineral oils. It's a good start.  The brand is owned by a European country and in Europe many of the chemicals we use are banned there.

As to whether they test on animals, for all appearances they do not, however, they do state: "we cannot guarantee that ingredients we purchase have not been tested for or by someone else."

Regarding selling their products in China which requires testing they state: "The answer to this problem is to convince the Chinese authorities that animal testing for cosmetic products is unnecessary. AND: According to our (website) statement concerning animal testing we do not or make anyone else do animal tests for us and we are the great promoter of alternative test methods wherever possible."
[from Surprisingly Vegan]

Compare the above product to JOLI's
Light Moisturiser face & body lotion:

The Ingredients:
aqua, almond oil, chamomile,citrus seed extract,cypress,emulsifying wax, natural preservative, pro vitamin B5, rosehip oil, vitamin E.

Can you read that? Yes! It's nice and simple isn't it. This is what I choose for my 'pure & natural' moisturiser.  What do you choose?

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Chemicals to Avoid in your products and why!

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is a common ingredient found in our cosmetics and personal care products, including shampoo, soap, shower gel, toothpaste, shaving cream and bath foams. SLS is also known as a surfactant - a surfactant breaks down the surface tension of a liquid, allowing it to foam or to penetrate solids. It is widely used by manufacturers because it is cheap.  Sodium lauryl sulphate is also used as an industrial degreaser to clean the grease off garage floors and in engines.

SLS & Skin - Sodium lauryl sulphate is a known irritant and is actually used in clinical studies for that purpose - to irritate the skin so that the effects of other substances can be tested. When applied to human skin it has the effect of stripping off the oil layer then irritating and eroding, leaving it dry, itchy and sometimes inflamed. It cleans by corrosion and dries the skin by stripping the protective lipids from the surface so it can not effectively regulate moisture balance.  SLS can also aggravate more serious skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.

SLS & Eyes - In experimental, acute eye tests, a solution of 10% sodium lauryl sulphate caused corneal damage to the eyes if not irrigated or irrigation was delayed. A solution of 5.1% caused mild irritation. Studies have also shown that SLS could retard the healing and keep childrens eyes from developing properly by denaturing the proteins and not allowing for proper structural formation. Children under six years old are especially vulnerable to improper eye development. It has also been said that SLS could cause cataracts in adults and delays the healing of wounds in the surface of the cornea.

SLS & Hair - Because sodium lauryl sulphate is such a caustic detergent it can cause scalp irritations, corrode the hair follicle - impairing the ability for hair to grow, and strips moisture from the delicate hair shaft, leaving it dry and brittle. SLS & Science - Sodium lauryl sulphate has a low molecular weight of just 40, ingredients under the weight of 75 enters the body. Therefore SLS can rapidly be absorbed into the body and be retained in the eyes, brain, liver and heart, which may result in harmful long term effects.

SLS & Ethoxylation - When SLS goes through a process called ethoxylation (this is where the degreasing agent becomes less abrasive gives it enhanced foaming properties) this compound then becomes Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES). The problem here lays with the fact that ethoxylation causes residues of a compound called 1, 4-dioxane to form. 1, 4-dioxane has shown in tests to be carcinogenic in rats and mice and is absorbed through the intact skin of the animals. Furthermore, this compound has been classified as a possible carcinogen in humans. According to the European Economic Community directive on cosmetics, 1, 4-dioxane must not be present in commercial products. Consequently, the assay of this substance in marketed cosmetics is of a direct concern.

Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used in the cosmetic industry, it is reported that 99% of beauty products contain them. They are preservatives that inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungus and mould, to extend the shelf life of a product. The most commonly used parabens in cosmetics are methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben.  Parabens may cause skin irritation, cause allergic reactions and interfere with the intestinal flora which is vital for the cleanliness of the intestines.  Recent research suggests that parabens are able to mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen, so there is a link with breast cancer, although this has not been proven and further studies are needed.

Phthalates are chemicals used in many toiletries to help the fragrance last longer. It is estimated that around 90% of beauty products contain these symthetic preservatives. Animal studies on certain phthalates have shown the chemicals may cause a variety of problems, including reproductive and developmental harm, organ damage, immune suppression, endocrine disruption and cancer. The major concern is that as phthalates are so ubiquitous in our environment, no one knows for sure what the long term exposure, even in small doses, may be doing to human health, particularly developing infants.  Phthalates are so widely used that it may be nearly impossible to eliminate your exposure entirely. However, we feel just by omitting them from the cosmetics we use will make a difference.   Phthalates may be listed as: Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Diethyl phthalate (DEP), Butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP).

A recent study conducted at the University of Washington in Seattle has shown that potentially harmful phthalates (plasticisers) are absorbed through childrens skin. All of the 163 urine samples from infants up to 28 months contained at least one phthalate, and 81% had seven or more. High doses of phthalates have been known to produce unnatural hormone activity in tests.

Propylene Glycol (PG) is a colourless, nearly odourless syrupy liquid that is derived from a natural gas, that is commonly used in anti-freeze and brake fluid! It has found its way into cosmetics as a binding agent. It penetrates the skin and can weaken protein and cellular structure. It is considered so toxic that it requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when being handled. Because Propylene Glycol penetrates the skin so quickly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns against skin contact to prevent consequences such as brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.

Oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3) is the widely used chemical in many sun products with high sun protection factors, its function is to 'filter' ultra violet light on the surface of the skin, converting it from light to heat, but it can also be absorbed through the skin. As yet there has not been any conclusive research to indicate what happens when the oxybenzone is absorbed through the skin, but UV light causing cell damage is well known and you may choose to avoid this form of sun protection. If light is converted to heat in the basal layers of the skin, damage to growing cells is very likely.

Formaldehyde is a toxic, colourless gas that is an irritant, and a carcinogen. When combined with water, formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant, fixative or preservative in deodorants, liquid soaps, nail varnish and shampoos. Also known as formalin, formal and methylaldehyde, it is a suspected human carcinogen and has caused cancer in rats. Formaldehyde can damage DNA, irritate the eyes, upper respiratory tract and mucous membrane, and may cause asthma and headaches. It is banned in Japan and Sweden.

Nitrosamines are not intentionally added to cosmetics, they are contaminants accidentally formed during either manufacture or storage if certain ingredients are combined. There are NO safe levels of these chemicals and whats even more worrying is that they are able to penetrate the skin. Products to watch out for are those containing amines or amino deerivatives, particularly di- or triethanolamine (DEA, TEA, MEA see below), which may form nitrosamines if combined with an ingredient which acts as a nitrosating agent, e.g sodium nitrate. Amines and their derivatives are mostly present in creams, cream lotions, hair shampoos and cream hair conditioners. Beware of mixing products.

Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), Triethanolamine (TEA) are hormone disrupting chemicals known to form nitrates and nitrosamines, often in conjunction with other chemicals present in a product. They are almost always present in cosmetics that foam: bubble bath, shampoo, body wash, soap. Dr, Samuel Epstein, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois, reports that repeated applications of DEA based detergents result in increases in liver and kidney cancer.