Monthly Archives: June 2010

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All-Natural Sunscreen Alternatives

There are some yukky  ingredients in sunscreen, such as parabens, dimethicone, oxybenzone, PABA and retinyl palmitate, that not only are bad for us but also the environment. So I started researching all-natural alternatives to drugstore sunscreen. Believe it or not, sun care starts from the inside out, eating plenty of dark green, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables to keep your skin healthy and less prone to skin damage. Here’s something else I learned, you can still burn even if you use sunscreen. Only sunblock can keep you from burning. So be mindful of that when you’re on the beach this summer, and bring a cover up and an umbrella to make your own shade if necessary.

Many natural Oils also contain natural sun protection:

There are also many natural sunscreen alternatives out there on the market, but you have to look for them. Here’s a list of a few all for less than $12:

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Savvy Interview with Fleurzty!

Fleurzty is the mastermind behind Texture Playground. She is like my blogging “auntie”. She totally gave me my first push back in January with a feature on her blog, Who’s Who with Savvy Brown. I had the pleasure of meeting her last month in VA when I was there for a wedding, and she is really beautiful in person! So are her lovely son and husband. (I think Sexy and him had to plenty to talk about, what with their blog-crazy wives and all). I was thrilled when she agreed to do this interview, and she shares some great advice on everything from low-budget natural hair tips to how to balance a busy schedule with blogging. Fleurtzy has started her own line of natural hair care products that can be found in Boutique de Fleurzty with all-natural ingredients. She even shares how she balances her hectic schedule with her family….

When and why did you decide to go natural?

I went natural in 2004. It was a combination of reasons really that I think started with a comment my now husband made. We had evening plans and I was very strongly considering canceling because I showed up to the salon and it was closed. It was time for a relaxer, so I had a mini-fit and did not know what to do with my hair. He looked at me, and said “Something is not right with this picture. I guess you can stay home if your hair isn’t freshly done” in his very sarcastic voice of course. It stayed with me, and I began to think “well, why won’t I go out with my hair like this. When did I stop knowing how to ‘handle’ my own hair”, especially since my hair had only been relaxed for five years. The thoughts just kept coming, and soon they led to a strong determination to grow my hair out.

What inspired you to start blogging?

I have always documented my hair journey. I began paying attention to what worked and what didn’t early on. I also always had a fascination for good products. With time, I began wanting to share my documentation with others, and hopefully share some of the knowledge I had been soaking up. At the time I began blogging, I was a stay-at-home mom who not only saw it as sharing but also an outlet, and a way to stay busy during my little one’s down times. I had the time and blogging turned out to be a way to use it productively.

Your products at Boutique De Fleurzty are a hit! And they have all-natural ingredients. What inspired you to make your own products?

I love mixing hair concoctions. I love experiments that go well and those that don’t. Very much like any other aspect of my hair experiences, my products began with a thought. A thought that would not go away! I was nervous, and for a while unsure of whether I wanted to commit myself to creating products. I have always thought there are many great product lines out there, so I had to have a vision, a purpose and actually see a need to start my own line. I did not want to have products just to have them! After I stabilized my first few formulas (some of which are not yet for sale), I sent some to my family and their hair were thriving with them.

My goal then became to offer products that work effectively and give great hair days in a few steps. The four products currently available have definitely done just that for many women. I get emails from women who are excited because they achieved fabulous twist-outs or wash and go’s with using one or two products. I believe that’s why the products are a hit. They focus on freeing your time without sacrificing hair health, shine, moisture, definition or softness. All the things that many products achieved when combined.

How do you balance your day-job, the blog and the Boutique? Continue reading

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Homemade Aftershave

I found this recipe on TipNut, the ingredients aren’t that much different than what I use in my homemade toner, so I’m pretty confident about this recipe. I’ll report back and let you know how Sexy likes it.

Men’s Homemade Aftershave Recipe

2 cups witch hazel extract
2 ounces rose water
2 ounces aloe vera gel
1/2 ounce vegetable glycerin

A few drops of an essential oil of your choice (such as peppermint and eucalyptus), if desired Combine the ingredients in a jar, and shake to blend.


To use:

Pat on the face after shaving.
Makes 2 1/2 cups.

  • Hey guys, try this out and lemme know whatcha think!
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Strong Enough for a Man….Crystal Body Deodorant Review

You should have SEEN Sexy’s face when I brought home two sticks of “Crystal” deodorant. He looked at me like I had three heads. “I don’t think that’s going to work for me”. He was nice about it though. I asked him to just try it out for the purposes of this post. Reluctantly he took it and used it.

He’s been happy with it ever since.

In a my post What’s the Deal With Aluminum? I talked about the dangers of aluminum chloride in deodorants and anti-perspirants, and I was curious to see if the salt crystal version actually worked. So here’s a review…

Crystal Body Deodorant Crystal Stick For Men $4.20

Ingredients: Mineral Salts (Natural), Ammonium Alum

Product Description: Safe for the Environment

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Eliminates Odor
  • Lasts Over One Year
  • For Men & Women
  • Unscented, Non-Staining
  • Can Be Used On Underarms and Feet
  • 100% Natural Mineral Salts.

Natural Deodorant Protection

Crystal Stick™ Body Deodorant is made of natural mineral salts and is completely free of perfumes and chemicals.  It eliminates body odor. Crystal Stick™ will leave an invisible protective barrier against odor-causing bacteria on your skin.  It is unscented, hypoallergenic, non-sticky and non-staining.  Crystal Stick™ is guaranteed to last over a year of daily use.

What it is…

The Ammonium Alum listed in the ingredients is NOT the aluminum chloride found in anti-perspirants that has been known to lead to Parkinson’s disease.* And it is NOT contain the ammonia that your grandmother used to clean the bathroom with. (Ick!) Ammonium Alum is a white crystalline double sulfate of aluminum. From what I’ve found it is safe to use. Alum-based deodorants work through bacteriostatic action, which means they inhibit bacterial growth while allowing the elimination of toxins without clogging pores.

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Men’s Skin Product Review: Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Soap Gel

Sexy was fine when I was “greening and cleaning” my my side of the medicine cabinet, but when I crossed the sink over into his territory, he was a little intimidated. I started reading the labels of the  line of men’s products that he was using, and I wasn’t crazy about the ingredients. I was even less impressed with the price. (His shaving cream alone was like $22!) I had actually introduced him to the line, and although it was relatively good stuff, the price was too much. .It seems that men’s skin products are more likely to have icky ingredients in them than women’s products, because manufacturers are banking on the fact that men read labels even less than women do. So one day when I was looking at Dr. Bronner’s line of skincare products and it hit me that the Organic Shaving Soap Gel might work for him. I wasn’t sure if he’d try it, but he seemed to be relieved and willing to try it. (I think he was afraid that I was going to try to whip up some shaving cream on my own the kitchen…he was right, but lack of time saved him.) Now to be fair, I did not use these products, Sexy did, so the quotes below are his comments on each product. Oh and for clarification, Sexy is lucky enough not to suffer from acne, and his healthy vegan lifestyle doesn’t hurt his skin either!

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Fair-Trade Shaving Soap Gel – $5.99 (Lavender Scent)

Ingredients: Organic Acacia Concinna (Shikakai) Extract, Organic Sucrose*, Organic Grape (Vitis Vinifera) Juice, Potassium Cocoate (made with Organic Coconut Oil)*, Potassium Olivate (made with Organic Olive Oil)*, Organic Glycerin, Organic Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Organic Melaleuca Altenafolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Organic Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Citric Acid, Tocopherol (Vit. E), (* Certified Fair Trade by IMO)

The product boasts organic ingredients and  fair trade benefits to the farmers who grow them. Here’s his review.

“I use this product on damp skin and shave with a Gillette Mach3 razor for Sensitive skin. It doesn’t lather up much or turn white like foam, but it gives a fairly close shave with minimal nicks or cuts. The Lavender scent isn’t very strong, and  I don’t need to use that much either. ” – Sexy Continue reading

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Hair Product Review: Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly

A few weeks ago I was sent an 8oz. container of Wonder curl Get Set Hair Jelly from Scarlett Rocourt, the creator of the product. I had gotten a few email from Savvy readers asking if I’d tried it, so I was excited to check it out myself. She suggests using the product for a Wash ‘n Go on her Facebook page tutorial.Well I have to tell you, I normally don’t have much luck with Wash ‘n Gos. (A Wash ‘N Go is when you apply a conditioner and then a gel to your curly hair while it’s sopping wet, and let it air dry.) I’ve used Kinky Curly Curling Custard (KCCC) as well as EcoStyler Gel for this method, but I’ve never been able to get good results after one day. That’s not to say that those products don’t work, they do, but I learned a while ago not to try to expect my hair to look like anyone else’s. Case in point, Scarlett’s hair is 3b, 3c, whereas mine is 4a,4b. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised…

Scarlett''s hair after using Wonder Curl

Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly – 2oz. $5; 8oz. $15, 16oz. $25

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) juice, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Phenoxyethanol, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Panthenol, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Alcohol denatured, Carbomer, TEA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Polyquaternium 7, Fragrance

I liked that most of the ingredients are all-natural and similar to KCCC without the hefty price tag.

So loosely following her instructions, I washed my hair using my regular routine, and detangled in the shower. Then I separated my hair into sections, and starting with a small handful of wet hair, I applied a dime sized amount of Clear Castor Oil, and pulled it through my hair with my fingers so it was evenly distributed. (I always use some type of oil under gels, I find that it seals in the moisture and doesn’t allow the gel to leave my hair “crunchy”). Then, I took a quarter-sized amount of Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly, and raked it through the same section on top of the oil. I then continued with the same technique, until my whole head was covered.Here are my results…

Wonder Curl in my wet hair

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I ♥ Binder Clips

I love binder clips!  They’re cheap, come in all kinds of sizes. and can be used for EVERYTHING! I was just noticing the other day just how many ways we use them around the house. There are a million and one uses for these things, but here are 12 of my favorite…

  1. Holding snack bags closed
  2. holding the ends of my twists when I’m styling my hair
  3. Keeping a towel on my shoulders when I henna my hair
  4. Cord keeper
  5. Put at the end of the toothpaste tube so we get out every last drop
  6. Holding photos
  7. Hold hair accessories together when traveling
  8. Clothespin
  9. Keeping index cards organized
  10. DIY money clip
  11. Book mark
  12. Keeping my ID/Train pass handy

Lifehacker even showed a video of a guy who made an iPhone dock out of binder clips check it out… Continue reading

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What’s Wrong with Cotton Pt 2

In Part 1 of this series I talked about what’s wrong with the way traditional cotton is cultivated. Well here’s what’s right with how organic cotton is harvested.

No toxins, synthetic fertilizers, harsh chemical bleaches or dyes are used in the production of organic cotton.  Natural fertilizers and compost  are used along with natural pest control, such as ladybugs (which destroy harmful insects).

The majority of Organic Cotton is harvested by hand which means that it’s also much safer for those who pick it  and they are in  no danger of harming their family members and livestock by passing on harmful chemicals. Workers that  harvest and handle traditional cotton are exposed toxic chemicals, and those same chemicals can seep into the water supply and effect the people and wildlife that use that water.

Organic farming helps prevent topsoil erosion, improves soil fertility, and protects groundwater. By not dumping massive chemical pesticides or planting genetically altered seeds, the organic farmer is forced to rely on more labor intensive and therefore more expensive practices. These farms are also usually small, family-owned tracts of land that don’t rely on big business to make money.

Organic cottons, woolens, and natural rubber for organic bedding are  farmed and processed to ensure as much purity, environmental sustainability, natural soil replenishment, and humane practices, as possible. This takes a great deal of time and patience, on small farms and cooperatives that can’t afford large tracts of land. Continue reading

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Savvy Guest Blogger: MissLycia!

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know yet another fabulous blogger, MissLycia and her fabulous healthy blog alldaynatural.com Her motto is “Body.Mind.Spirit…Redefined”. Her blog is all about being healthy and nurturing to ourselves and has some great tips, tricks and recipes to help you get there. She was nice enough to answer a few questions and give us some advice for us in this timely guest post…

1. What inspired you to start All Day Natural?

In the last few years, I developed a reputation among friends and family as the resident advisor for all things natural—from hair to diet to an overall wholistic lifestyle. They would often ask me for advice and tips on improving their health. I felt overjoyed when I was able to witness the positive changes in my loved ones’ lives, but mentally and physically. It inspired me to share my natural nuggets of advice with the virtual world.

2. . What inspired your natural lifestyle?

Ironically, I would say that the catalyst was my hair. When I started to grow my hair naturally, I began to reflect on not only what I put on my hair, but also on my skin and in my body. I started doing research on whole foods and alternative health, as well as attending classes and workshops. As I gradually progressed towards a healthier lifestyle, adopting a vegetarian diet and using all natural products, I began to notice dramatic changes in my hair, body, even in my mental state of being. To this day, my interest in natural living has continued to evolve. I am fortunate to learn a lot from my readers and other naturalistas in the blogosphere.

3. What are some budget-friendly ways for us to make healthy diet changes?

A lot of people think that you have to spend a fortune to eat healthy, but it is easier than you think! The first thing I would suggest is to learn to cook, or alternatively, find a friend that knows his or her way around the kitchen. J It is much less expensive to prepare your own meals than to spend twenty dollars a day (or more) eating out. You can find an array of healthy recipes on the web—including Savvy Brown’s tasty creations! I share recipes on my blog and make sure they are appetizing, yet easy to make. I would also recommend shopping at farmer’s markets to find, economical, local foods, and even growing your own food in a backyard or terrace garden. Finally, for those who think that healthy food is not worth the cost…think about how much you’ll save in medical bills in the long term! Continue reading