Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Non-Clogging Homemade Sunscreen with Hemp Oil

Hi beauties! I finally made my own sunscreen that is GUARANTEED not to clog your/my pores!


Okay, you all probably know by now that I like simple recipes with as few ingredients as possible. That way, it's easier to tell if any of the ingredients is causing problems / clogs. This recipe has two ingredients: hemp oil and zinc oxide.

The Recipe

To make 2 ounces of sunscreen with 20 SPF:

Approximately 2 ounces of hemp oil
0.4 ounces of zinc oxide (measured on a kitchen scale)

Mix together in a non-metal vessel and then pour the sunscreen into a PET container. Keep in the fridge!

You can adjust the measure of zinc oxide in the recipe according to your desired SPF. The percentages are of the total weight of the final product. 

For SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
For SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
For SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
For SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide

I have been using this sunscreen on my face, arms, back, neck, and chest for about a week now, and it's working very very well! No clogs, no sun damage so far.

The stuff.

Choosing the Zinc Oxide

The most important factor to consider when choosing your zinc oxide is the size of the particles. A lot of products use Nano or Micronized zinc oxide, which is an ultrafine powder that turns clear when applied. Unfortunately, nanoparticles have been found to cause health problems because they are so small that they can enter the body through the skin.You want a particle size of MORE THAN 100 nm.

How it works

Zinc oxide is a physical barrier sunscreen. This means that it creates a barrier on your skin that blocks UVB and UVA rays (Murphy 1999).

Here's a great article explaining the mechanisms of sunblocks: 
Sunblocks: Mechanisms of action

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Product Review: Kerafiber

Okay. I'm going to admit this: sometimes I use that spray-in hair stuff like in those horrible infomercials!!! It has come to this, people.

I received an invitation to review this particular brand, Kerafiber, and a very nice man sent me a free kit with the fiber and the holding spray.

I tried it this weekend and liked it!

First, you shake the stuff onto your problem areas.

Then you pat it in.

Then you spray it with this fixative spray. This was hard for me. The stuff smells WICKED SWEET and is obviously a synthetic fragrance. Plus I'm very very cautious about what goes on my head, as you all know, I'm sure.

It worked well, though. It fills in the thin spots temporarily. I wish it made my hair look thicker throughout, but what are you going to do.

I wanted it to add coverage/volume to the lower part of the hair... it didn't.

It filled in the spaces.
It didn't rub off during the day.
It was easy.

Before: spaces in hair at temple

Before: spaces in hair at temple

AFTER PICS! No added volume, but nice coverage. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sagging Skin and Cellulite: Coffee Oil

Guys, I was horrified to find out that the skin all over my body is STARTING TO SAG! Or HAS been sagging. Or something. I never noticed this until I was trying some things on in the mall the other day. Someone should tell Frederick (of Hollywood) that he'd sell a lot more of that shit if he turned the flourescent lights in the dressing rooms DOWN A NOTCH!

Anyhoo, yes. I'm not posting any "before" pictures because I'm not going to sacrifice my one remaining shred of dignity to you people. Let's just say I'm 49 years old, have recently (five years ago) had a baby, and have also recently (like, recently) lost maybe 25 or 30 pounds. 

So now I'm looking for ways to perk up my body! What you want to do is moisturize, tighten, and blast the area with rejuvenating anti-oxidants. I'm going to try a few things:
  1. Dry brushing every day. I started this today, and it feels awesome. I'll do a whole post on this soon.
  2. Coffee ground scrub on problem areas (thighs, butt, stomach, breasts, upper arms. Damn.).
  3. Tightening and rejuvenating coffee body oil!

So caffeine is supposed to help tighten skin. You can infuse any kind of oil with coffee, but I chose a blend of oils with great anti-aging anti-oxidant properties. Here's how I made the oil:

EDITED TO ADD A NOTE TO YOU ALL! This stuff is WICKED STRONG! I applied this all over my body after my morning shower at 10 am. My heart was racing and I was shaking from caffeine by 11 am. I could still feel it at 8:00 that night. I advise you to dilute.
On the plus side, I did a lot of stuff: cleaned the whole house; did all the laundry; cleaned out the yard; did an hour of yoga; did three 1.5-minute long planks; jumped on the trampoline for hours with my son; hula-hooped for a long time; plus a lot of other hamster-on-a-wheel type stuff.


  • 2 cups dry coffee grounds (organic, dark roast. I don't know if this is what I was supposed to use, but that's what I had. I've seen a lot of recipes with green coffee, too)
  • 10 ounces hemp oil
  • 2 ounces vitamin E oil
  • 1 ounce vitamin A (fat soluble)
  • 3 ounces coconut oil
  • 4 ounces vanilla-infused sweet almond oil
I used a 20 or so ounce mason jar to mix these in.

How to Make It

First, pour in the coffee grounds, then cover with all this other stuff. Let sit on a countertop for at least a couple of days. I think you could let this sit for weeks, and it would just get better and better. Shake the jar every few days.

Since I made mine with hemp oil, this will be a little more volatile, meaning its shelf life is fairly short at room temperature. I'm leaving this on a countertop for a week (so the coconut oil is liquid and can accept the coffee), then I'm going to leave it in the fridge.

Strain the oil through a fine strainer and pour oil into a container for use. Keep in fridge!

wicked dank stuff.

This stuff SMELLS CRAZY! It's very concentrated. You may want to dilute this with some almond or hemp oil (like, half and half or something). The smell does get fainter after an hour or so on your skin. It definitely smells like very strong coffee. I like it. My man does not.

How to Use

Rub this on your problem areas after bathing. Massage it in. Feel the tightening begin! 



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Baking Soda for Hair is No Good! Word from Kanelstrand!

My friend Sonya Kanelstrand just posted a tell-all about the use of baking soda in lieu of shampoo. This has been a widespread practice of the no-poo movement. I never liked it. And now Sonya doesn't like it!!!

Take a look!

From Sonya's blog.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Results after 1 Month: Polysorbate 80 and Sea Kelp Bioferment

Okay. So I've been doing the polysorbate 80/sea kelp bioferment thing for about 5 weeks now and I freakin LOVE it. My hair is very smooth and shiny and fluffy! I'm getting A LOT less hair fall. With the Salicylic Acid regimen, I was losing over 100 hairs per day, more on wash days. Now I'm losing less than 10, even on wash days. That alone makes this worth it. I'm not sure yet if anything is growing in on the hairline, but my hair looks much thicker now because it's so clean and fluffy. I no longer wear extensions when I wear my hair down.

Here's my original post on the idea behind this regimen. 

Okay, so I've honed down my system to this:

Every other day: A quarter-sized dollop of polysorbate 80 rubbed throughout the scalp, concentrating on the hairline. Leave it in for about 30 minutes and shampoo. I use organic hemp shampoo bars and ACV rinse. 

Swish a pea-sized dollop of sea kelp bioferment through hair and massage lightly on scalp. Dry.

Every day: Swish a couple drops of sea kelp bioferment through the hair and fluff it up. Rub a little on hairline.

Here are the pics:



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sea Kelp Bioferment

Beautiful Nereocystic luetkeana.

Sea Kelp Bioferment!

This keeps coming up in my hair research, so I ordered a few ounces from bulkactives. It smells very subtly briney, and feels and looks like aloe gel.

People over at the Skincaretalk forum are RAVING about how much it helps with hair growth.  A lot of people are saying that their hairlines filled in soon after starting with this stuff.

For the past week, I've been using it to style my son's hair, and as a scalp and hair treatment for myself. So far, I'm LOVING it. My son's hair keeps its style pretty well, and my hair is very very soft and shiny. Also, my hair fall has all but stopped. I'm not sure if that is because of the polysorbate 80 I started using, or this sea kelp stuff. All I can say is, "yay."

How to Use

Use it like hair gel for styling. I put a dime-size splotch on my son's hair, avoiding the roots, and then blow dry it straight (when he wants to look like Macklemore). 

I rub a dime-sized splotch into my scalp and fluff it through the length of my hair (wet or dry) before going out in the morning. There is no buildup whatsoever, and no weight to the hair. My hair is soft and feels absolutely awesome. 

Seriously. I love this stuff. I can definitely see why people are raving about it. It remains to be seen whether it will help with regrowth.


What is it?

Sea kelp bioferment is basically Bull Kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) that has been fermented with lactobacillus. The fermentation process breaks down the cell walls within the kelp, making the goodies more available to us when it's applied topically. It's used in skin and hair products, primarily.

Here's a description from BulkActives:
Botanical name: Nereocystis Luetkeana
INCI: Lactobacillus/Kelp Ferment Filtrate
Source: Bull kelp
Parts used: Whole Plant
Composition: Mineral Salts, Laminaran, Alginic acid, Tannins, Vitamins, Fucosterol, Fucosan , Mannitol , Fucoidan,-Polyphenols,  Beta-Carotene , Antibiotic substances, Proteins, Amino acids

Solvent of extraction: Water
Preservatives: 0,6 % Phenoxyethanol
Appearance: Colorless to light tan, clear viscous liquid
Odor: Faint characteristic odor
pH-value: 5,0 - 7,0
Density: 1,020 - 1,080 (20° C)
Viscosity: 15,000 - 24,000 cPs
Solubility: In water clear soluble

Suggested percentage: 1 - 100%
Usage: Add to creams, lotions, toners.  Base for shampoo and hair conditioners. Use pure as a mask or shaving gel. Can be mixed with creams or diluted with distilled water.

Storage: Store in cool and dry place. In closed containers at temperature of 10°-25°C, protected from light.
Shelf life: At least 30 months from date of manufacture (if stored correctly)


What's in it?

Minerals (including iodine, copper, molybdate, magnesium, and others); Laminaran; Alginic acid; Tannins; Vitamins; Fucosterol; Fucosan; Mannitol; Fucoidan; Polyphenols; Beta-Carotene; Antibiotic substances; Proteins; Amino acids

There are lots of good things that these ingredients can do, but the ingredients that are most relevant to this situation are Fucoidan and Laminaran. Fuciodan has been shown to grow hair by acting on the notch signaling mechanism within the hair follicle. Laminaran stimulates keratinocytes, which are responsible for hair, skin, and nail growth.

Many of the remaining constituents function as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic.



Fucoidan has been shown to regrow the ear hairs of zebrafish. Hey! It's something!!!This is likely accomplished by promoting the notch signaling within the hair follicles (see below for links to studies and a great article discussing the mechanism).

Fucoidans are sulfated polysaccharides with structures that depend on the plant source and growing conditions. Applied to the skin, fucoidan will increase the density of collagen bundles, decrease activity of proteases (enzymes that break down dermal proteins), increase scavenging of free radicals and increase cell proliferation. These effects would be mediated through increased expression of ß1-integrin and may also help with wound healing. In addition to assisting in collagen synthesis, fucoidan inhibits the replication of many viruses, including herpes, human cytomegalovirus, HIV-1 and others. Fucoidan has been shown to inhibit the binding of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (involved in human ulcers) to stomach epithelial cells.

Here's one of the studies on the zebrafish. The authors found that fuicoidan promoted hair regeneration after cell death in the auditory canals of zebrafish. They posit that the mechanism involves the Notch signaling pathway.

Moon IS, So JH, Jung YM, Lee WS, Kim EY, Choi JH, Kim CH, Choi JY. 2011. Fucoidan promotes mechanosensory hair cell regeneration following amino glycoside-induced cell death. Hearing Resolution: 282 (1-2): 236-42.

Here's a study supporting the notch signaling associated with hair growth:

Here's a great explanation:

Aubin-Houzelstein, Geneviève. 2010. Notch Signaling and the Developing Hair Follicle.In Notch Signaling in Embryology and Cancer edited by Jörg Reichrath and Sandra Reichrath.. Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media.
Notch function in the hair follicle has been mainly studied by use of transgenic mice carrying either loss or gain of function mutations in various members of the pathway. These studies revealed that whereas embryonic development of the hair follicle can be achieved without Notch, its postnatal development requires an intact Notch signaling in the hair bulb and the outer root sheath. Among the many roles played by Notch in the hair follicle, two can be highlighted: in the bulge, Notch controls a cell fate switch in hair follicle stem cells or their progenitors, preventing them from adopting an epidermal fate. In the hair bulb, Notch controls cell differentiation, ensuring the proper development of every layer of the hair shaft and inner root sheath. Notch function in the hair follicle is both cell autonomous and cell non autonomous and involves intercellular communication between adjacent layers.



According to Elicityl:

Laminaran (or laminarin) is a storage polysaccharide of Laminaria sp and other brown algae such as Fucus vesiculosus, Saccharina longicruris and Ascophyllum nodosum. It is a linear polysaccharide made up of β(1-3) glucan with some β(1-6) branch point.

It has been discovered that laminarin, oligosaccharides derived therefrom and compositions containing same have stimulating, regenerating, conditioning and energising effects on human dermis fibroblasts and human epidermis keratinocytes.

Keratinocytes are skin cells residing in the lower epidermis. The proteins found in these cells are keratins, which make up our hair, skin, and nails. 

Here's a great discussion:
Rioux et al.; Phytochemistry, 70 (2009) 1069–1075).

Alginic acid

Lee WR, Park JH, Kim KH, Kim SJ, Park DH, Chae MH, Suh SH, Jeong SW, Park KK. 2009.  The biological effects of topical alginate treatment in an animal model of skin wound healing. Wound Repair Regen. 17(4):505-10.

These data suggest that alginate has significant wound healing promoting activity. The results from the present study indicate that the effect of alginate on wound healing may involve biological mechanisms associated with the expression of transforming growth factor-beta1, fibronectin, vascular endothelial growth factor, and collagen-I.

Brachkova MI, Duarte MA, Pinto JF.. 2010. Preservation of viability and antibacterial activity of Lactobacillus spp. in calcium alginate beads. Eur J Pharm Sci. 41(5):589-96. 

This study discusses the improvement in antibacterial qualities when lactobacillus in conjunction with alginate.

Alginate beads in which lactobacilli proliferated to the beads surface (ES and C(ES)) differed significantly from the other types of beads in their physicochemical properties, showing smoother surface morphology, more spherical shape, bigger weight, lower calcium content, density and crushing force. Lactobacilli cultures, at high cell concentrations (10(8)cfu/ml) were active against both Gram-positive and negative multi-resistant bacteria. Beads containing both entrapped and surface lactobacilli (ES) resulted in viability and antibacterial activity most similar to non-processed lactobacilli cultures. The viability and antibacterial activity of the immobilized lactobacilli remained stable after 6 months storage.
Friedman AJ, Phan J, Schairer DO, Champer J, Qin M, Pirouz A, Blecher-Paz K, Oren A, Liu PT, Modlin RL, Kim J. 2013. Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity of chitosan-alginate nanoparticles: a targeted therapy for cutaneous pathogens. J Invest Dermatol. (5):1231-9. doi: 10.1038/jid.2012.399. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

NPs synthesized with chitosan and alginate demonstrated a direct antimicrobial activity in vitro against Propionibacterium acnes, the bacterium linked to the pathogenesis of acne. By electron microscopy (EM) imaging, chitosan-alginate NPs were found to induce the disruption of the P. acnes cell membrane, providing a mechanism for the bactericidal effect. The chitosan-alginate NPs also exhibited anti-inflammatory properties as they inhibited P. acnes-induced inflammatory cytokine production in human monocytes and keratinocytes. Furthermore, benzoyl peroxide (BP), a commonly used antiacne drug, was effectively encapsulated in the chitosan-alginate NPs and demonstrated superior antimicrobial activity against P. acnes compared with BP alone while demonstrating less toxicity to eukaryotic cells. Together, these data suggest the potential utility of topical delivery of chitosan-alginate NP-encapsulated drug therapy for the treatment of dermatologic conditions with infectious and inflammatory components.



Talita Pizza Anunciato MPharm, Pedro Alves da Rocha Filho DPharm. 2012. Carotenoids and polyphenols in nutricosmetics, nutraceuticals, and cosmeceuticals.
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Volume 11, Issue 1, pages 51–54.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hair Regrowth Journey, Part II: Polysorbate 80 and Sea Kelp Bioferment

Okay, everyone, I'm starting over. The Salicylic Acid regime did not work for me. I am left to conclude that clogged follicles/scalp pores are in fact NOT the issue.

I'm now going to explore the possibility that I have Androgen Alopecia, and try some things to counteract that.

As women age, the hormones shift in proportion to one another. Testosterone production increases, and can cause androgen alopecia (male hormone-driven hairloss).

The major hormone involved in hair loss is called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is the result of testosterone being in contact with the enzyme 5-alpha reductase in the skin and scalp. DHT interacts with the hair follicle's cell membrane receptor and disrupts hair growth.

Here's a snazzy picture from:

Please see this post for a more detailed explanation.

Polysorbate 80!

So apparently, Polysorbate 80 "kills" or inhibits DHT. It also gets rid of excess sebum and plugs and releases histamines, which may stimulate growth. Again, see this post for more details on that.

Sea Kelp Bioferment!

Bulkactives describes it:

Sea Kelp Bioferment is a natural kelp extract that has been derived by fermentation of Sea Kelp using Lactobacillus, the same bacteria that produces yogurt, sour cream and sour dough breads, among many other foods. The fermentation process increases the bioavailability of many chemical compounds by freeing them from the food matrix to which they are typically bound. In addition, the principle of fermentation allows for the isolation and concentration of naturally occurring phytochemicals. Fermentation breaks down the cellular tissue of the kelp leaf, thereby increasing the bioavailability of the naturally occurring chemical compounds abundant in kelp. Fermentation and subsequent reduction of the kelp liquor results in the concentration of these vital nutrients. Naturally occurring algin, the mucilaginous intercellular material found in kelp thickens this product to a gel consistency.
I'm not finding any studies on the mechanism or efficacy of sea kelp for androgenic alopecia, but I AM finding MANY personal stories and testaments on line. And many of those involve a combo of sea kelp bioferment and Polysorbate 80. Bonus: it's supposedly a great hair gel, too. I'll let you know!

Here's a GREAT thread about it on Skin Care Talk.

Most sites advise using the stuff every day. Since I don't want to shampoo every day, here's what I'm going to try:

EveryDay Scalp Spritz

spritz scalp (especially hairline) with:

1 part SKB
2 parts water

Pre-shampoo Scalp Treatment

1 part SKB
1 part Polysorbate 80
1 part distilled water

Rub throughout the scalp and let sit for 30 minutes. Shampoo and ACV rinse.

I will take pictures and let everyone know how it goes!