Archive for June, 2011

I wash my hair everyday…I have to because I have oily hair. I have naturally blond hair and although I have a lot of it, it is quite fine. So washing everyday has become the norm for me for the past 30 or so years.

Because of this, lately I have been trying to look for shampoos that are a little more gentle not only on my hair but my body as well…our skin absorbs whatever we put on it.

So I have been checking the ingredients in some of the commercially sold shampoos to see exactly what’s in them.

Here’s what’s in just one bottle of Tresemme which is one of the shampoos I was using:

Water (Aqua/Eau), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Ammonium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Glycol Distearate, Propylene Glycol, Laureth 7, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, DMDM Hydantoin, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Xylene Sulfonate, Quaternium 80, Bisamino PEG/PPG 41/3 Aminoethyl PG Propyl Dimethicone, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Limonene, Amyl Cinnamal, Linalool, PEG 18 Glyceryl Oleate/Cocoate, Biotin, Polyquaternium 7, Polysorbate 20, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Silk, Ascorbic Acid, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Niacinamide, Soluble Collagen, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol

Do we really need all of this in our hair and absorbed into our bodies?

I really want to try and avoid using chemicals wherever possible so for the past week I have started making my own homemade shampoo using baking soda and conditioner using apple cider vinegar. Now this is probably not what you would recognize as a shampoo as it is suds-free so you won’t get that nice foaming action that you would expect in regular shampoos but it does work and it works really well…at least for my hair type. My hair can tend to be a little flat and lifeless but this gives it some body.

I thought that using baking soda would cause my hair to dry out and be straw-like but so far I haven’t had a problem. I also thought I would have trouble getting a comb through it after washing. Again I haven’t experienced any problems.

The only issue I had was on the fourth day of using it my hair felt dull and flat. It was almost like I had a build up of the baking soda and I was tempted to go back to regular shampoo. But I decided to stick with it and the next morning I ensured that I washed out the baking soda more thoroughly and I used the apple cider vinegar rinse on all of my hair instead of just the ends which is what I had been doing up until then. This seemed to do the trick.

I have read where some people who normally wash their hair every day have found that they can now go for extended periods without having to wash their hair, by using this type of shampoo. As yet I haven’t found that to be the case but I have only been using it for less than a week now. Also, because I am currently using virgin coconut oil and magnesium oil on my face and body, it does tend to get into my hair especially overnight and cause the hair to look oily by morning…so that may be the reason.

You’ve got nothing to lose trying it because it is extremely cheap to make – you will save a small fortune in shampoos! Plus it only takes a few minutes to mix up.

How to make homemade shampoo…

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of baking soda – Most of us have used baking soda when baking as a raising agent or you may have used it in your fridge to absorb odors. It  is also used in some antacids and toothpastes.
  • 1 and a half cups of water -You can use pure water to make this if you like…I do, but regular tap water should be okay too.

Mix ingredients and store in an old shampoo bottle ready to use.  I tried using a spray bottle but the mixture didn’t spray very well at all.

This will create a fairly watery mixture. I know some people prefer a paste but go with what suits you.

Tips for Using the Baking Soda Shampoo

  • Apply the baking soda mix to wet hair.
  • Ensure you shake the bottle first as the baking soda will settle to the bottom.
  • For your first wash you might like to wash all your hair with the baking soda mix. For the second and subsequent washes just wash the scalp area as the ends may dry out depending on your hair type.
  • I simply pour the mixture onto the top of my scalp and massage in and then rinse thoroughly. If you don’t rinse well you may end up with an itchy scalp and possible dandruff and a build up over time leaving your hair looking heavy and lank.
  • I find that the baking soda mixture quantities given above will cover about 3 to 4 washes…it just depends on your hair length and how much you want to use.

Where Can You Buy Baking Soda?

Baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda in some countries) can be found at most grocery stores. You can also buy it from Amazon here.

How to make homemade conditioner…

Ingredients

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar (I use the one with the ‘mother’ – not sure if that makes any difference but just ensure that it is apple cider vinegar and not regular white vinegar. Apple cider vinegar shouldn’t leave a smell on your hair after rinsing out)
  • ½ cup water

Combine the ingredients and store in a spray bottle ready for use.

Tips for Using the Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner

  • It’s best to store in a spray bottle as it is easy to apply.
  • Simply spray on the ends of your hair and massage in.
  • You can use as much or as little as you like.
  • Every now and then I will spray the mixture on my scalp as well.
  • Rinse well after applying. You can leave in for a few minutes before rinsing off.

Where Can You Buy Apple Cider Vinegar?

One of the best brands of apple cider vinegar is by a company called Bragg. You can buy it at most health food stores or from Amazon here.

How to Make Magnesium Oil using Magnesium Chloride

Recently I have been spending a lot of time on the earthclinic.com website and during my time there I found out about Transdermal Magnesium Therapy (TMT) using magnesium oil. It’s something I’d never heard of before but it intrigued me because I have been reading a lot lately about the importance of magnesium. The reason that I have been researching this is that many of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency seem to apply to me including back and neck muscle pains, muscle twitching, stiff muscles, fatigue, memory problems, sensitivity to bright lights and heart palpitations. And it seems that I’m not the only one it seems as it is estimated that approximately 68% of people in the USA suffer from magnesium deficiency.

So since I suffer from a variety of related symptoms I figured that this was worth a try so I purchased some magnesium chloride flakes online to see how it would go. I could have bought Magnesium Oil already mixed and ready to go but it is actually quite expensive considering it is so easy to make yourself. The Magnesium Oils that you can buy already made up are usually in a consistency of 33% magnesium chloride and the rest pure water. I have found two version of this on Amazon:

The Swanson brand is way cheaper and their magnesium seems to be sourced from the same region as the Ancient Minerals brand. Not sure why the massive difference in price between the two brands. Even some of the reviewers on Amazon who have tried both can’t tell the difference.

Either way, I am not about to spend that sort of money when I can make it easily at home for a fraction of the cost but I’ll get to that further on in this post.

So What is Transdermal Magnesium Therapy?

Transdermal Magnesium Therapy (TMT) is a way of getting magnesium into the body without having to ingest it. It involves applying magnesium oil to the body and magnesium oil is simply a mix of magnesium chloride and water. Technically it’s not an oil at all but it feels oily which I guess is how it got its name.

Now you can take various forms of magnesium internally if you wish however the problem with doing that is that magnesium can have a laxative effect…great if you are constipated but that’s not my problem. Also if you are taking any sort of medication, it may affect the amount of magnesium that is absorbed.

From what I have read so far, it appears that TMT is greatly superior to oral supplementation in that the magnesium can be better absorbed into the body.

“When people are ill, faced with magnesium deficiency and poor digestion, what do you think the odds are of fixing that problem with oral magnesium supplementation and digestive enzymes alone?” asks Dr. Ronald Hoffman. Mildred Seelig, Ph.D., renowned researcher of magnesium, predicts it would take 6 months to normalize magnesium levels in a woman who is magnesium deficient with oral supplementation. In his clinic Dr. Hoffman carefully measures magnesium and found that many patients with low magnesium who take just oral supplements do not normalize. The bottom line is that transdermal magnesium therapy speeds up the process of nutrient repletion in much the same was as intravenous methods. Like intravenous, transdermal application of magnesium can deliver higher doses of this key mineral to the cells. Bypassing digestion allowing for deeper tissue saturation.

Reference: Mark Sircus Ac., OMD Director International Medical Veritas Association

How to Make Your Own Magnesium Oil

As I mentioned above, most of the commercial magnesium oils you buy are made up of approximately 33% magnesium chloride and 77% pure water. I prefer a consistency of 50% magnesium chloride and 50% pure water. It’s up to you which amounts you want to start with but just remember that magnesium oil does sting when applied to the body so the stronger you make it the more it will irritate the skin. So if you have skin allergies then you might want to start out with a smaller quantity of magnesium chloride – say 20% or even less and work your way up.

To make magnesium oil you will need 2 things:

1. Magnesium Chloride Flakes

You can get magnesium chloride flakes quite easily these days but just remember that magnesium chloride is also used for industrial use and in salt water aquariums so the quality of your magnesium chloride may vary. I prefer to buy magnesium flakes that are specifically sold only for human use. If you are in the United States you can purchase magnesium chloride flakes from Amazon. The two brands I found both source their magnesium flakes from the Zechstein Seabed in Europe. Here are the two I found:

Because I am in Australia I can’t purchase these items from Amazon so I have sourced my magnesium chloride flakes from Nikita Naturals.

2. Pure Water

I use pure water to make my magnesium oil. I figure that this stuff is being absorbed into my skin so I should use the best possible ingredients.

I have a few recipes here for making magnesium oil depending on how you want to use it. Remember that these are just my recipes so adjust them to suit yourself.

1. My recipe for making Magnesium Oil to spray on the skin

1 cup magnesium chloride flakes
1 cup pure water

Note: If you would like to start with a lesser concentration then try 1/3 a cup of magnesium chloride flakes with 2/3 cup of pure water or even less if you have particularly sensitive skin.

Boil the water first and then mix with the magnesium chloride flakes until dissolved. Allow to cool before use.

That’s it. Your done! You now have a batch of magnesium oil ready to use. Easy wasn’t it?

I keep mine in a plastic spray bottle but you can store in a regular bottle or jar.

How to Apply Magnesium Oil on your skin

Magnesium oil can be applied directly to the skin. Ensure your skin is clean before applying. I use a spray bottle and simply spray over my entire body. You can also apply to just the arms and the legs and then rub it in to the skin. It will sting and be a little itchy. I also use it on my face by spraying a little into my hands and rubbing in to the skin. Just be aware that it can cause irritation so always spot test before using on the face. I had a small cut on my finger and it stung quite a bit when the spray got in there so be careful to avoid cuts and wounds.

Now I have read on a few sites that you should wash the magnesium oil off your skin after 20 minutes. Then again on other sites I have read that you can leave it on the skin. When I started using the spray I was showering it off after 20 minutes  but now I use the magnesium spray after my shower and leave it on. Again its all a matter of experimenting to see how your skin reacts.

2. My Recipe for a Magnesium Foot bath

You can actually absorb more magnesium chloride by using a foot bath than by spraying on the skin. This is how I make up my foot bath:

  • 1 cups magnesium chloride flakes
  • 2 cups water

Boil the water and mix with the magnesium chloride flakes until dissolved. Place in a foot bath and leave until cooled slightly…you don’t want to burn your feet but you want the water to still be warm.

Soak your feet for 20 minutes. Wash your feet in warm water after use or wipe down with a damp cloth.

3. My Recipe for a Magnesium Bath

I simply fill up the bath tub and add 2 cups of magnesium chloride flakes and then soak for 20 minutes. Two cups probably isn’t anywhere near enough and one day I will try it with a bigger dose.

4. Recipe for Magnesium Gel

I actually found this one on a site somewhere but just can’t remember where. Either way I wasn’t too happy with the outcome because it creates a watery consistency and the ingredients don’t combine well at all. I am going to work on it however because I like the ingredients. I am a huge fan of virgin coconut oil particularly on the skin – it works wonders so I am going to try different amounts until I can get a nice consistency that is more of a gel than a liquid. If I do end up with something decent I will update this post. This is the original recipe:

  • 1/3 cup of magnesium chloride flakes
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup aloe vera gel

Combine the ingredients in a jar or bottle and shake well. Apply to the skin like you would any other moisturizer. Test first before applying to the face. I have no problems with it but if you have sensitive skin just spot test first.

How have I been using magnesium oil?

I have only started using magnesium oil but this is what I have been doing so far:

  • magnesium bath once or twice a week
  • magnesium spray once a day on entire body. You can do this at night before going to bed  or after your morning shower.
  • magnesium gel on face and body in the morning

Did magnesium oil work for me?

It’s too early to tell yet – I’ve only been using it for a few days now. What I have noticed though is that after using the magnesium oil (which I usually do at night) I do feel quite relaxed and generally just want to go to sleep. They do say it is good for insomnia. I also have quite a bit of trouble waking up in the morning – I usually feel like I haven’t slept at all and in the past couple of days my mornings have been a little easier – not a massive difference so not sure if it has anything to do with the magnesium as yet.

I really want to try this for at least a month to give it a good test. Some say you should keep at it for a few months to build up magnesium levels so I will see how I go.

Where Can You Buy Magnesium Oil?

If you don’t want to make your own magnesium oil then you can purchase it pre-mixed. If you are in the US you can buy magnesium oil from Amazon:

If you are in Australia you can buy magnesium oil from:

Where Can You Buy Magnesium Chloride Flakes?

If you are in the US you can buy magnesium chloride flakes from Amazon:

If you are in Australia you can buy magnesium chloride flakes from:

Resources

Recommended Books

I’ve purchased both of the books below and they are excellent resources for magnesium info.