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Banana Peel Shoe Shine

A while back, I bought a huge amount of bananas because they were super cheap, which I then froze to use in smoothies and banana ice cream. Banana ice cream is, by the way, possibly the best dessert there is. Blend some banana with raspberries, and a few dates if you want it sweeter, and put in the freezer and it will be super delicious and healthy. Anyway, so there I was with, like a billion banana peels (okay, maybe more like 30, still, loads), and I realised that this was the perfect time to try out something I had read about – banana peel is a great shoe shiner! Bananas contain potassium, an ingredient commonly found in conventional shoe polish products, and the oil from the banana skin will absorb into the leather, resulting in shiny shoes that will last longer.

Polishing your shoes with banana peel is super easy – rub the inside of the skin all over your shoes in a circular motion, just like when applying regular shoe polish. Take a soft cloth or shoe shine brush and buff your shoes until they look shiny and new!

As a bonus, you can also use banana peel for a whole bunch of other things, like whitening your teeth and feeding your plants. Read this post for more information. For more homemade shoe shine recipes, see here. And in case you’re interested in other ways of using leftover food, check out this blog post.

 

The Water Only Method

Many people raise their eyebrows when they hear about people not using shampoo in their hair and only use conditioner or put baking soda and vinegar in their hair. But I must admit that even I was a bit sceptical of the water-only, or WO-method. Not using anything in your hair whatsoever? Only water? That sounds … odd, to say the least. I first read about it on the Long hair community where people, inspired by an article about a woman who hadn’t washed her hair for 11 years, experimented with cutting down on everything and only washing their hair with water. This was years ago, and it wasn’t until a few months back that I actually started toying with the prospect of trying it out myself, inspired by a few success stories from the swedish no ‘poo facebook group.

But does it work? First, let’s have a look at the theory behind WO, and then I will share how this worked for me.  (more…)

Company Checkup: L’Occitane en Provence

Along with a few others, L’occitane is probably one of the biggest cosmetic companies who describe themselves as natural, at least here in Europe. Maybe (probably?) because of this, my preconception of L’Occitane was that they are greenwashing and not nearly as natural as they claim, even though I have no idea of what their products actually contain.

Seeing as I fly quite a lot these days (yes, bad, bad me), I see L’occitane often, passing them in the Tax free section. Several times I approach the shelf, thinking I should buy something – how come I always get in the mood of buying stuff when I’m in a tax free shop, even things that I think aren’t natural? But when looking at the products (right before going “… naah ..” when I take a look at the price) I noticed that they actually do contain a lot of vegetable oils and other truly natural ingredients as their main ingredients. This is why I wanted to do my second Company Checkup about L’occitane en Provence – to see if they are better than my prejudice.

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Company Checkup: Antho


The first brand in the Company Checkup post series is a brand that was completely new to me: Antho, formerly Anthology Organics. Antho was recommended to me when I asked for companies to look through, as a positive example of organic skin care brands. I chose to start with Antho because, not only do they start my alphabetic list, they were also very quick with replying to my email, which I sent out last summer.

Antho is a vegan skin care line with products containing 99-100% USDA certified organic ingredients. In a brochure I was emailed they claim that their products contain “no bad chemicals” and “no junk whatsoever”. Yup, sets the bar pretty high doesn’t it? But do they live up to their promises?

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Get Amazing Hair With These 15 Quick-Fixes

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say that my hair is a very important part of how I choose to present myself. Few things can change ones appearance so drastically as a new hair cut and color. And the conclusions that people draw from just a hair cut are incredible; I’m sure you get associations just from these words: dreadlocks, peroxide blonde, mohawk, ginger.

Although I am well aware of the mighty impact of hair, alas I am too lazy to doo much about it. I rarely make special up-dos and always forget to redye my hair, leaving nasty regrowths. So for my own sake just as much as for yours, I gathered some super-easy tips on how to improve the quality of your hair with almost no effort. Some of these tips are more a matter of changing your habits, but I assure you, if you just try out a few of these, your hair is indeed going to look amazing.

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(Re)introducing: Hildablue Recipes With Oil Profiles

If you’re at all wondering why I haven’t updated much lately, it’s because I started on a new project and haven’t looked up since. Until now. I present: the new and improved Hildablue recipes!

But this website, which can be found on hildablue.com/recipes, is not just a recipe site. You can also find guides to vegetable oils and essential oils and their properties for skin and hair care. There’s only a handful of them so far but I will be adding more along the way.

The site is also responsive, which means it’s well adapted to use on mobiles and ipads. This means it should be easy for you to look up a vegetable oil on your mobile when you’re in the shops.

Please get back to me with any kind of feedback you have. Did everything work the way it should? Did the links lead to the right places? Could you easily find what you were looking for? Now, get over there and start browsing!

Naturally Spooky – Make Your Own Natural Halloween Makeup

When looking for Halloween makeup, natural isn’t excactly the first thing that comes to mind. Many of the face paints on the market contain potentially harmful ingredients, especially if you’re looking at cheap products in the toy shops. Actually, a lot of the Halloween makeup on the market isn’t even graded as cosmetics, and therefore they don’t even contain an ingredient list! (if you can’t find an ingredient list, it’s more likely than not to contain stuff you wouldn’t want to put on your face, and even less so on your child’s face).

Last weekend, I was invited to a Halloween party, and I decided it was a good chance to play around with some homemade versions of Halloween makeup. After much consideration, I chose to go as Sweeney Todd (read: after panicking for a whole day I found something I could go as one hour before leaving), which called for some white face paint, white temporary hair dye and some dark makeup for a more undead look – not to mention something that would highlight those cheekbones Johnny Depp-style.

Here’s what I came up with (and sorry for the incredibly lousy bathroom-mirror-mobile-photo):

HAIR DYE AND HAIR MASCARA

I wanted to make my hair a bit darker and not quite as red as it is normally. To achieve this, I made an infusion with coffee, nettles and walnut extract (optional) and added a teaspoon of ground activated charcoal. This made my hair a little bit less red and more brown. To make it even darker I mixed some activated charcoal with water and combed it through my hair. Quite messy business but my hair did get darker.
You could also use indigo or katam for black hair, which is more permanent than this. Or try another herbal recipe, depending on what you’re going for.

The white streak in my hair was achieved with the following mixture:

1 tsp titanium dioxide
1/2 tsp zink oxide
1/2 tsp rice flour

Grind the ingredients slightly in a mortar. I mixed this with safflower oil (you could probably use any other oil as well) – start with a few drops and gradually add more until you have a thick but oily paste. I found that a toothbrush worked perfectly for applying the paste into my hair (don’t expect to use the toothbrush for anything else after this though!)

NATURAL FACE PAINT

The white foundation is the exact same as the recipe above, some white powders mixed with thistle oil. I was actually very surprised by how well this foundation worked; it gave a very even tone and stayed on perfectly until I washed it out 6 hours after applying. I only used a very thin layer as I didn’t want to be clown-white, only give a bit of a ghastly appearance, but the same recipe could achieve a really strong white appearance too.

Under the eyes I applied a little bit of activated charcoal powder, which worked really well for a hollow-eyed look. I also put some on my eyebrows and just under the cheekbones.

NAILS?

Didn’t need to do anything about my nails – the were really dirty after all that fiddling with charcoal-dyed hair 🙂

REMOVING THE HALLOWEEN MAKEUP

It took a good while to get the dye out of my hair, but your normal hair washing method should do the trick as long as you rinse for long enough. If using  oil in your hair (like the white streak which contained thistle oil) it can be a good idea to apply your conditioner/shampoo/baking soda or whatever you’re using into dry hair, that way it’s more effective against the grease.

The skin makeup comes off easily with any vegetable oil. Just apply some vegetable oil, like olive oil, to a cotton pad and swipe it out.

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR HALLOWEEN MAKEUP

  • When I tried making a turmeric face mask, I realized it’s really difficult to get out. This had me thinking – turmeric should be the perfect natural yellow food paint. Mix it with some oil and apply to your face if you want to go as… I don’t know, a Simpson character or a chicken?
  • This blog post has some really nice recipes for everything from fake wounds to warts.
  • I know titanium dioxide and zinc oxide might not be found in every kitchen cabinet … You could try using just plain riceflour or cornstarch in the recipe, but I have no idea if it will work or not. Kaolin clay could work as well.
  • If you have some iron oxides you can mix most any color your heart desires into the face paint recipe I mentioned above. It’s a good idea to grind a bit before mixing. If you’re using mica, no need to grind!

Happy Halloween!

Get Rid of Your Acne With This 7 Day Treatment

Acne, zits, spots, blemishes, pimples, the reason my social life sucks… Whatever you call them, you’re more likely than not to suffer from them at some point in your life. And they’re not just for teenagers – many a post-15-year-old suffer from these nasty little (or BIG!) buggers. Actually, just a few months back my own boyfriend got a huge breakout. He’s never had any trouble with acne before, and now all of a sudden his forehead was just filled with them. (he’s 30, by the way, not 13). Luckily, there are so many things you can do to get rid of acne, and to prevent them from coming back. I’m going to share my one week long homemade treatment that I developed to get rid of acne and to prevent new pimples from occuring. (more…)

Company Checkup – So What Does ”Natural” Mean, Anyway?

Okay, so you’ve taken the decision to change your cosmetic habits. You’ve read a little bit about the cosmetic industry and realized that a lot of the ingredients they put in their products are just cheap filling agents that even might be harmful for your skin and body in the long run.
So you narrow your shopping down and start looking in the sections labelled ”natural”. Here you are likely to find zillions of products that scream FROM NATURE WITH LOVE and 95% ORGANIC INGREDIENTS. Some products tell you NO ADDED PARABENS/TALCUM/SILICONE/[enter any ”bad” ingredient here], others WITH ADDED OLIVE OIL/ARGAN OIL/VITAMIN E/[enter any ”good” ingredient here].

So where to start, which ones to choose? Are all natural products equally natural just because they are in the natural section of your local shopping mall? This is what I want to find out in my new post series, which I have named Company Checkup. One by one, I will go through several companies who name themselves natural, organic or anything like that.

Before starting to look at the actual companies and their claims, I wanted to find out what if there is any legal regulation or requirements that a brand or product needs to fulfill to be called ”natural”. Based on what I have seen of so called ”natural” products, my hypothesis was that there aren’t any regulations, and that a company decides themselves if they want to call their product natural or not.
So I started looking around for a pro who could answer my questions. This turned out more difficult that I had imagined. Apparently somebody should know this, but nobody really knows who does. First I contacted the Swedish Consumer’s Agency, where they said “the answer isn’t as obvious as you might think…” and forwarded my emails to the Swedish environmental department, who gave me several other tips including one person in their own department – none of which could answer my questions. After many emails back and forth, I finally got in touch with a person at the Medical Products Agency (more or less the equivalent of the FDA in USA), where I finally got some answers to my questions. This is what Tomas Byström at the Medical Products Agency had to say (freely translated from Swedish). For those of you who understand written Swedish, you can read read the original interview in Swedish in this PDF.

These answers are based on the situation in the EU and Sweden, but according to Byström, it’s more or less the same thing in the rest of the world. (more…)

Make Your Own Homemade Scrub With Just Two Ingredients

Many people who start making their own skin and hair care products seem to start out with making scrubs. I know I was one of them back in the day as well! And that’s really not that strange – homemade body and face scrubs are super easy to make with ingredients that you probably already have at home! Plus, they are often so incredibly effective (and not to mention, pretty) that they will beat any storebought product any time.

I’m sure you’ve seen a zillion scrub recipes online before. But if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’m not really much of a recipe person. If I want to make something – be it a skin care product or dinner – I just look into my cupboards, see what I have, and combine stuff until I have something that looks and feels right. And now I want you to start experimenting as well!  It can be a face scrub, body scrub, lip scrub, foot scrub, hand scrub, elbow scrub, cuticle scrub or eyelid scrub! Okay I don’t know if your eyelids need scrubbing, but hey’ why not give it a try anyway?

combine_your_own_homemade_scrub

If you want to know more about what a scrub does to you, check out this old post of mine about exfoliation. To make a scrub you really just need two ingredients; a scrubbing agent and a liquid. Here’s my guide to some of the best ingredients to use in homemade scrubs.

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