raw honey

exfoliating MSM face mask

hey crunchies! today i have something i’m very excited to share with you (and i hope you’re excited about what it does!). i gave you a little teaser on instagram, but it definitely looked like some sort of melted ice cream. haha!

exfoliating MSM face mask

it’s an exfoliating face mask that also:

  • removes dirt and other impurities without drying your skin out
  • has antibacterial and probiotic properties
  • evens skin tone
  • heals current blemishes
  • balances skin pH
  • reduces appearance and heals acne scars
  • lessens inflammation
  • balances oily and dry skin
  • is suitable for all skin types

it’s pretty great i think. it’ll make your face feel oh-so-soft and perfectly moisturized!

what’s in it:

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  • MSM powder – contains sulfur, which heals current breakouts, reduces acne scars, lessens inflammation, and exfoliates your face.
  • pure aloe vera gel – heals current blemishes, balances oily and dry skin.
  • raw honey – has antibac properties, evens skin tone, heals current blemishes, reduces acne scars, and balances oily and dry skin.
  • organic kefir – has probiotic properties, heals current blemishes, balances skin pH, lessens inflammation

MSM powder is the star of the show in this exfoliating mask. MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a sulfur compound that’s found naturally in foods such as raw milk, kale, eggs, and grass-fed beef (among others). it’s very important, as it’s the 3rd largest nutrient found in your body. it works to help your body’s detoxification process, with inflammatory conditions, and produces high amounts of keratin and collagen. MSM helps with joint flexibility, psoriasis, eczema, growing stronger nails, growing thicker/longer hair, balancing blood sugar levels, etc. there are many medical articles surrounding MSM and its benefits (which you should check out!).

most people aren’t getting enough of this nutrient, due to pasteurization of our foods, as well as cooking our veggies. these processes slash MSM contents in food by half! supplementing with MSM powder might be worth discussing with your healthcare professional.

while usually taken internally, MSM is also amazing when applied topically. this face mask is no exception!

how to make:

  • grab a regular kitchen spoon and a bowl to mix up your ingredients. you should also find a tiny air-tight container to keep the leftovers in the fridge.
  • mix 2 1/2 spoonfuls of MSM powder with 1 1/2 spoonfuls of aloe, 1 spoonful of raw honey, and 1 spoonful of kefir
  • mix very well and let it sit for 30 minutes minimum (maybe closer to an hour will be the best). the mix will look very runny now, but it will thicken up. letting it sit will also allow the MSM to dissolve into the aloe, leaving it less gritty, but perfect for exfoliation.
  • the mix should be thickened up after 30-60 minutes. you can spoon it into your container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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how to use:

  • remove makeup or excess dirt with warm water and a washcloth. pat until almost dry, leaving your face slightly damp.
  • using a nickel-sized amount of the mix, gently rub onto your face in tiny circles.
  • massage your face with the mix for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • let the mix sit on your face for 15-20 minutes, to allow the nutrients to soak in and do their magical work.
  • very gently wash the mix off with warm water (and a wash cloth if you need it).
  • try not to pet your soft-as-a-baby’s-butt face. it’s hard not to; i know.

this mask can be used 1 to 2 times a week, as long as you’re not using another exfoliator, and as long as you’re gentle with massaging it onto your face.

you should notice immediate results with the texture of your skin, but wait for a few uses to see noticeable improvements in acne/acne scars, skin tone, and other blemishes.

this recipe should stay fresh if kept in an air-tight container and in the fridge for about 2 weeks. if it looks or smells funny, toss it of course!

try this mask out for a few weeks and see how you like it! comment below with your experiences!! :)

is there anything you’d add to this mask?? another mask you love for the same properties? let us hear about it!

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soothing dry/itchy scalp rinse

with this winter being one of the hardest in a long time, keeping my hair and skin moisturized has been at the top of my list!
since i only use water to wash my hair, i couldn’t use my beloved coconut oil on my scalp. but i still needed extra moisture! so what is a gal to do?

DIY her own scalp rinse. duh ;)

soothing scalp rinse

this rinse is for anyone battling a flaky, itchy, dry scalp at any point in time, using ANY hair washing method. it doesn’t matter if you’re no-poo, low-poo, clay ‘poo, water-only, etc… this rinse is safe to use!

what’s in this rinse?

  • raw honey – acts as a humectant and draws in moisture
  • undistilled alcohol-free witch hazel – soothes an irritated and itchy scalp and helps combat dryness (if you don’t use alcohol-free, it will dry out your scalp even more. it also needs to be undistilled to ensure the tannins are still present in the liquid)
  • rose water – reduces inflammation and helps combat dryness
  • filtered water
  • aloe* (you can most certainly add this, but to store your mix in the shower, don’t use aloe. otherwise, store it in the fridge!)

HOW TO

  • mix 1 1/4 cups of warm water with 1 tsp raw honey until the honey is mixed well into the water
  • add 1/8 cup alcohol-free witch hazel and 1 tsp rose water
  • mix well and pour into a plastic squeezy bottle so it can be applied directly to your scalp
  • after washing (whatever that may be for you) or wetting your hair, apply it to your scalp in sections, rubbing in for a few seconds in each spot.
  • let it sit for a few minutes (5 to 10) and rinse well in cool water

voila!

this mix should be enough to use for 2 or 3 rinses. you may keep the rinse in a bottle in your shower. no need to worry about anything spoiling!

also, be sure to never wash or wet your hair in hot water! this will dry out both your hair and scalp, as well as cause typical heat damage to your strands!

now go give this rinse a try :)

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problems with no-‘poo or low-‘poo? here’s the holy grail of natural shampoos…

crunchies. i think i’ve done it… i think i’ve created the magic hippie shampoo for all hair types. i don’t wanna get ahead of myself, but get excited.

i’m always trying to learn more and more about the crunchy lifestyle. i want to find 928374 ways to wash hair, wash dishes, clean bathtubs, etc. i want people to become educated in natural alternatives and empowered…and still  be able to make choices! this blog has taken a turn to be focused on all-natural hair care (as per my lovely readers), so anything hair-related especially peaks my interest.

aside from the comments of gratitude and support for the crunchy community, i still get a lot of comments saying that certain hair care routines didn’t work, and asking what to do next. those are the hardest comments to answer because it’s SO different for everyone. i’ve been wanting SO badly to find something that everyone can start with, no matter their hair type or current hair care routine.

and guys, i think i’ve done it!

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pros:

-       all natural

-       not stripping

-       all hair types*

cons:

-       mix keeps a week at a time

-       can be tricky to travel with

jeez! okay alexraye, what’s in it?!

  • bentonite clay
  • apple cider vinegar
  • raw honey
  • filtered water
  • essential oils of your choice (optional)

yea, yea, so some of us have seen the honey shampoo… or the benny clay hair mask… or using the acv rinses… but it’s not always for everyone! honey can leave some people’s hair heavy; benny clay can be too drying; acv can either leave an oily feeling scalp or nothing at all. BUT, all of these together are pure CRUNCHY HAIR MAGIC!!!

i’ve always adored clay hair masks, as well as raw honey for a conditioner. i thought “why not combine them?!”

why those ingredients?

  • bentonite clay – benny clay draws out serious toxins; clarifies hair (stay tuned for more on this); defines curls (if you have them); cleans away extra hair grease without stripping it all away
  • apple cider vinegar – helps rebalance your scalp & hair’s pH; soothes dry scalp/dandruff; smoothes hair cuticle for less tangly and shinier hair
  • raw honey – acts as a humectant and locks in some serious moisture; soothes dry scalp and dandruff; antibacterial properties; leaves hair soft and shiny
  • filtered water – it needs to be filtered so your benny clay isn’t binding to any toxins in tap water. the water allows the mix to be runny enough to run over your hair without much effort. it also prevents the benny clay from being too drying.

how do i switch?

if you’re already no-poo/low-poo/’poo alternative, just switch over for your next wash. no steps needed to ease into it! if you’re currently using traditional store shampoos and will be using this to go all-natural, you’ll need to clarify first.

here’s where the cool part comes in… benny clay can act as a hair clarifier, without stripping hair or throwing off hair’s pH! just mix equal parts benny clay and water, and apply the paste, gently massaging, to hair from root to tip as a hair mask. leave on for up to 5 minutes and rinse with cool water. done!

how to:

  1. in a small glass cup (and using a non-metal spoon and in this exact order), mix 1 spoonful of benny clay, 1 1/2 spoonfuls of ACV, 1 1/2 spoonfuls of raw honey, and 5 spoonfuls of filtered water. it will bubble a bit from the acv, but that’s okay! it won’t burn you or harm you in any way! feel free to dilute the mix into more than 5 spoonfuls of water, too, but don’t go below 5.
  2. on dry hair, pour small amounts straight from the cup onto sections of  your scalp, rubbing in the mix as you go. it won’t hurt if it runs down the length of your hair.
  3. leave on for 5 minutes (do NOT let the mix dry on your scalp!! benny clay can be very drying to hair when left on longer than a few mins, but the honey will help prevent any extreme drying, as well as not letting it dry), and rinse thoroughly in the shower with cool/lukewarm water. read again: rinse thoroughly!
  4. done! seriously. if you find your hair needs some extra lovins in the conditioning dept, use some raw honey on your hair after you rinse the clay mix out. leave that on for a few minutes and rinse out well with cool water.

it was very runny, so don’t think you’re doing anything wrong! instead of trying to spoon it out or use my hands, i found it was easy to mix it in a small glass cup and just pour small amounts on different parts of my scalp and gently rub it. i only had a little bit run down my neck and shoulders that way.

and no, your hair won’t smell like vinegar after! i know some people are wary of that :)

after your wash, your hair should feel soft and clean, but not stripped. if your hair is feeling a little dry, use less benny clay next time and/or increase the amount of honey. also, you won’t necessarily need to condition after. if your hair does need it, you can use plain ol raw honey! score!

>> by the way, this same exact mix can be used as a detox-ing face mask! if you have any leftover from your “shampoo”, rub onto clean facial skin and let sit until dry (only takes a few minutes!). then wipe away gently with a warm washcloth. mmm happy skin!

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where to get these ingredients:

  • bentonite clay – this one is also edible; this one is for external use only (you can find this clay in most organic stores. i’ve heard it’s at walmart, too!)
  • raw apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”) – any grocery store
  • RAW honey – just about any grocery store/health food store/organic store
  • filtered water – any grocery store

are y’all as excited as me?!

go try it and let everyone know how it goes!!

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just getting started? here are my CRUNCHY MUST-HAVES!

this post is going to be so fun!

i get quite a few readers that reach out to me knowing they want to start, but don’t know where. i felt the same exact way when i switched! i read anything i could get my hands on about natural living solutions and soaked it up like a sponge.

for all y’all that want to ditch the chemicals (and let’s be honest…save tons of money…), but are overwhelmed by everything you can do (completely understandable!), this post is for YOU!

going crunchy (all-natural, homesteader, etc.) is incredibly liberating and yet very daunting. it’s a complete life-changing experience and it’s easy to get lost along the switch to a more natural lifestyle.

so what DO you do?! and with what?!

good news is, you can do pretty much anything you like to & tailor it to your specific needs! bad news is, you have SO many options that it’s easy to get bogged down.

no matter which routines you choose, i’ve picked these 5 products (and some honorable mentions) that will ease your transition and that can be used for multiple things. they’ll all be a fantastic starting point for your new crunchy lifestyle!!
AND i want ALL of you crunchies to leave your “crunchy must-haves” in the comments!! i told ya this would be fun!

here we go!

don't know how to start your crunchy life? look no further than here!

  • castile soap (either liquid or bar) – this will be your ultimate cleaner. you can dilute it and use it for body wash, shampoo, laundry detergent, all-purpose household cleaner, and even put it in your homemade toothpaste! its uses are plentiful!
  • baking soda - you can use this as an all-purpose cleaner (toilets, dishes, countertops, drains, clothes, etc), skin and face exfoliation, to relieve heartburn and skin irritations (even poison ivy), in your homemade deodorant, overall odor absorber (including carpet cleaner), cockroach and ant repellant, dry shampoo, etc.
  • coconut oil - this stuff is my holy grail. i use it for lotion, shaving cream, deep conditioner, eye cream for wrinkles and dark circles, in my smoothies and meals, and in my toothpaste. i always have 2 jars on hand – one opened and being used, and one waiting for me. you want the unrefined (virgin, undeodorized) version!
  • essential oils – EOs are little liquid miracles. they can be used for anything and everything from helping rid infections to just plain ol making things smell great. you should use EOs with lots of caution, and with a plentiful amount of research under your belt. see this beginner’s guide to EOs for a quick learning blip.
  • apple cider vinegar – this can be used as a facial toner, acne spot treatment, hair “conditioner”, all-purpose household cleaner, deodorant, wart treatment, sunburn relief, in water for a drink or on a salad to balance your body internally and cleanse your lymph nodes and flush out candida (ladies!), fabric softener, fruit cleansing bath, etc. you want the raw, unfiltered kind!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • bentonite clay – you can use this on your hair & skin, and as an internal/external detox. i even put it in my toothpaste!
  • aloe – you can use this on your skin, hair, and even consume it. it’s wonderous! i love it in my morning glass of water and as a hair conditioner.
  • raw honey – again, you can use this on your skin, hair, and consume it! i LOVE it as an acne spot treatment and deeeep conditioner. you can literally wash your face with honey, too!
  • arrowroot powder/corn starch (non-GMO) – i use this stuff for dry shampoo, make-up, and deodorant. a little goes a long way for multiple uses!
  • sea salt – you can use this for cleaning, body scrubs, etc. you can mix it with coconut oil and EOs for a fantastic body scrub that’s completely unique to you!

and of course, always have an abundance of glass jars for all your concoctions!! <3

WELCOME TO THE CRUNCHY COMMUNITY!! <3
need to buy anything? check out my resources page for trusted companies and brands!

(fellow crunchies– WHAT ARE YOUR CRUNCHY MUST-HAVES??)

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DIY no-‘poo alternative shampoos & conditioners

as we know, no-‘poo can be pretty difficult to master. i did “no-‘poo week” in hopes i’d help a lot of people. but there’s still one huge thing i wanted to address & publish…

diy natural shampoos and conditioners

for some people, baking soda/acv isn’t the route to go. neither is castile soap. but what do you do when those no-‘poo methods don’t work for your hair, but you don’t wanna go low-‘poo?

try these homemade alternatives i’ve gathered up! these do require more time, but you should be washing your hair much less, so no big deal, right? :)

as with any no-‘poo/low-‘poo method, there is a transition period when you first switch from regular shampoo/conditioner. and with these following recipes, using hair products is not advised since there’s nothing in these mixes that will clean the products back out of your hair.

also, these methods won’t lather (unless you add soapwort). that doesn’t mean it’s not getting your hair clean!
also also, these mixes are okay for both hard and soft water.

lastly, these ingredients can be found at your local organic store and local health food store. call & check! if not, there’s always online!

shampoo

lemon shampoo

  • mix 1/3 cup lemon juice with 2/3 cup water for oily hair OR 1/4 cup lemon juice with 1 cup water for normal hair
  • *you can add 1 tbsp acv for those with dry hair
  • put into container and use as shampoo
  • this might lighten hair over time if you’re in the sun a lot

hibiscus shampoo Dried hibiscus flower

  • place either 2 fresh or 2 dried hibiscus flower petals and leaves into small blender
  • add 1/2 cup water
  • blend into paste
  • use as regular shampoo
    *you can also use powdered hibiscus for homemade blush/eyeshadow!

powdered shikakai shampoo (for sensitive scalps, hair growth, and hair root strengthening) Shikakai-powder_250x250

  • in a sauce pan, mix 1 tbsp shikakai powder, 1 tbsp amla powder and 1 tbsp reetha powder into 1 1/2 cups water
  • heat till almost boiling, and turn the heat to low
  • let simmer for 10-15 minutes
  • strain and use the liquid as shampoo

soapwort shampoo

  • chop 1 1/2 tbsp dried soapwort
  • bring 2 cups water to a boil
  • add soapwort to boiling water, and stir a couple minutes
  • cover and let simmer for a 1/2 hour
  • strain, put in container, and use as regular shampoo
    *this WILL be sudsy! (for those that miss bubbles!) fullers earth

fuller’s earth shampoo

  • mix enough fuller’s earth with water to make a watery paste
  • apply mix to hair and rub on scalp as you would regular shampoo
  • rinse very, very well

castile shampoo mixes- a gentler castile method (use distilled water)

  • mix 1 part liquid castile soap to 8-10 parts distilled water (or even diluted further if you can)
  • mix with: aloe vera; raw honey; argan oil; jojoba oil; avocado oil; coconut milk; vitamin e oil; a few drops of various essential oils; etc.
  • keep in container and use as regular shampoo

*tea shampoo (for added color & gray coverage)

  • for added color and gray coverage benefits, use tea instead of water in ANY of the shampoo mixes that have waterred-rooibos
  • black teawill help darken hair over time (3-5 bags steeped for 1 hour)
  • chamomile tea will help lighten hair over time (3-5 bags steeped for 1 hour)
  • red or rooibus tea will help add red to hair (3-5 bags steeped for 1 hour)
  • add 1 tbsp sage (or equal parts if you’re goin hardcore coverage) to help cover grays
  • …remember to strain before you add to your mixes ;-)

shikakai & soapnut shampoo

  • here’s a great tutorial on it. & she claims it takes out oil treatments from your hair too. that’d be great! … if anyone wants to test that claim and get back to us here at AE, more power to ya!

you can add steeped mint leaves and/or various essential oils to ANY of these mixes

**if you want a sudsy lather, steep soapwort and add it to any shampoo mix (soapwort instructions above)

conditioner

these conditioners are geared towards no-‘poo-ers. these will rinse out with your regular no-‘poo routine :)

coconut oil (dry, damaged hair… but it’s golden for everyone)

  • mix 1/3 cup warm water with 1/2 teaspoon melted organic unrefined coconut oil
  • you can add a few drops of any essential oil- lavender, orange, rose, etc. mmm!
  • keep in container and use as regular conditioner (shake each time)20130616_134007

raw honey

  • mix 1 teaspoon raw, organic honey into 2 cups very warm water (not hot) until honey is thoroughly dissolved
  • put into container and use as you would a regular conditioner

avocado oil (frizzy hair)

  • mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/2 teaspoon avocado oil
  • put into container and use as regular conditioner (shake each time)

vitamin e oil

  • mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/2 teaspoon vitamin e oil  
    almond
  • put into container and use as regular conditioner (shake each time)

sweet almond oil

  • mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/2 teaspoon sweet almond oil
  • put into container and use as regular conditioner (shake each time)

coconut milk

  • apply as much coconut milk as needed to cover the length of your hair (if you choose to use canned, make sure there are no added sugars or preservatives. you don’t want a sticky mess in your hair)
  • use as regular conditioner
  • the best coconut milk is homemade. no sugar, no preservatives, etc.  and the best part? you can drink it! so delicious & healthy! yay!
    – i’m not sure what i did wrong with this one, but it left my hair dull and limp. i know it’s supposed to be amazing! i’ll try it again someday

other deep conditioners

*obviously water and oil don’t mix. shake mix vigorously before applying. the water is there to help to keep the oil from “sticking” in no-‘poo hair, but will still give hair moisture.

2-in-1

only 1 mix needed for these bad boys!

eggs

  • whip up a couple egg YOLKS
  • use as shampoo, let sit 10-15 minutes, and rinse well!
  • *there is a such thing as too much protein in your hair! please don’t use this more than once a week. and even that is still too much for some people’s hair. you’ll know you have too much protein in your hair when it starts to break/snap easily. sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true! that being said, eggs are GREAT for hair. don’t let the protein thing scare ya off

aloe

  • use as much pure, organic aloe vera juice or gel as you need to cover all your hair from roots to ends
  • let sit a 10-15 minutes (shave/bathe?) and rinse well!

cucumber/lemon

  • blend 1 peeled cucumber and 1 peeled/de-seeded lemon in a blender
  • use mix as shampoo

coconut milk/aloe combo

  • see my recipe here

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please keep in mind some of these shampoos/2in1’s will expire quickly. use common sense ;-) i suggest making only what you need, and keeping extras in the fridge! the conditioners listed do NOT need to be kept in the fridge.

any shampoo/conditioners YOU love? let’s hear it!

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