herbal-infused hair & scalp rinse

welcome back, loves.

for today’s herbalism-inspired diy, we’re creating an herbal-infused hair & scalp rinse! the base of this will be vinegar, which i’ll explain more below.

this will take 4 weeks to infuse, but i promise it’s worth the wait.

the formula yields six 4 ounce rinses.

as always, no links are affiliates nor do i benefit in any way. the links provided are only to help guide you to my trusted ingredient sources.

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picture from graydon skincare blog / formulation wholly mine

for the menstruum, we’ll be using apple cider vinegar. why? because we want to deliver nutrients, like silica, to the scalp and hair directly. we’ve covered solubility in our comprehensive “introduction to herbalism” post here. please check it out! acv is also great for the scalp and hair, helping to rid of fungal overgrowth, help with dandruff / itchy scalp, and to optimize pH (read: make hair silky smooth to touch).

as for the herbs, we’ll be using horsetail, oatstraw, nettles, and rosemary.

horsetail is rich in silica, to help strengthen the hair. it cannot be extracted into water or oil, making it perfect for this formula.

oatstraw is another herb rich in silica, perfect for a hair rinse!

nettles are rich in silica, sulfur, and other minerals, again making it perfect for a scalp and hair rinse.

rosemary is known in the herbal world to help stimulate hair growth and ease scalp issues, like dandruff.

all together they are a hair & scalp powerhouse, when infused properly.

UTENSILS

  • 32 ounce glass jar with tight-fitting lid
  • 4 oz squirt or spray bottle

INGREDIENTS

HOW TO

  1. in your 32 oz mason jar, add all 5 tbs of dried herbs
  2. in same jar, add 3 cups (or 24 oz) of apple cider vinegar
  3. shake/stir gently to release air bubbles and reduce risk of mold growth. make sure herbs are completely covered. they will swell over time.
  4. sit in a cool, dry area, away from light for 4 weeks.
  5. gently stir daily.
  6. at 4 weeks, strain well and store in sterilized jar.
  7. add 4 ounces at a time to a squeezy bottle for ease of use.

USE

  • on either dry or wet hair, pour/squeeze mix onto scalp and gently massage. let it run down the length of your hair.
  • let sit for 5 to 15 minutes
  • rinse well with cool water
  • enjoy weekly

store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. toss if the appearance or smell takes a turn.

discard unused portion after 6 months.

enjoy!

XO, ALEXRAYE

i answer google search terms that brought people to my blog – PT 2

 

welcome back! ūüôā¬†

here we are again, almost exactly 1 year later (ha…), reviewing my blog stats and getting to read what people searched to wind up on this site.

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black walnut hair dye 

this was by far the most searched term that drove organic views to this site in the last year. yes, i have dyed my hair with black walnuts, and yes, it actually works. here’s the original post from 7 years ago (wow).¬†

norwex cloths

among the phrases in this search term were things like “home cleaning” and “private parts”…. when i first used norwex cloths in 2013, it was because a rep provided them to me to review. i ended loving them so much that i purchased a pack with my own money. those washcloths are still in my bathroom to this day, lovingly being used and in great shape. highly recommend!¬†

dragon’s blood

dragon what? what blood? good ol croton lechleri sap is fantastic for skin-support. i first wrote about it here, but it’s now found in countless green beauty products. and guys – it can be used undiluted on skin as a liquid bandaid. super cool!

msm face mask

methylsulfonylmethane (msm) is a sulfur compound that is great both externally and internally. if you want to learn more and try it in an exfoliating mask, try this post. if you want to combine it with anti-inflammatory powerhouse turmeric, try this post. and if you want something moisturizing and skin-softening, try this post. happy mixing!

hydrojelly face mask 

hydro-gel face masks have become my favorite, since i live in a high-altitude, dry, polluted city. think: 100% Pure but make it DIY. they’re easy to customize and easy to make, making them a fun diy tailored for your skin needs. the coolest part is they come right off with no scrubbing and no mess. i usually make/use these every other week. here’s a post!¬†

water-only washing 

while i personally can’t follow this method anymore, because i live in a high-altitude, dry, and polluted city, i think it’s a fantastic option for those that can. it’s exactly what it sounds like, and no, you won’t end up stinking. my hair ended up shinier and softer than ever, and could actually hold a curl. here’s a post on w.o.w. for hair and one for body.¬†

(product name) dupe

i do have a formulation educational series on this blog, which took inspiration from actual green beauty products on the market. while no companies or product names are used, it’s a nice series on learning to read ingredient labels and understand how that translates into a formula. it’s also a nice starting point for those wanting to get into diys, but don’t know where to start. here’s the full series. there’s lot of good info in those posts, if i do say so myself!

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anything else you’re curious about? maybe we’ll have part 3 in another year ūüėČ

XO, ALEXRAYE

my favorite ingredient sources

hi loves! i hope you’re doing well. this is a quick post to help share some online, trustworthy, ingredient sourcing for at-home DIYs.

there are no affiliate links, no codes, no referrals, nothing. the companies don’t know i’m doing this. i don’t gain anything – just sharing the love!

please share your favorite sources in the comments below.

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dried herbs

oils & butters

hydrosols

preservatives

emulsifiers

essential oils

containers

 

 

advice on starting your “green” life: reboot

the landscape has changed so much over the last 5 years, and you can buy pretty much any “green” beauty product you want nearly anywhere. when i started this blog in 2012, that definitely was not case; hence why i DIY’ed everything.

now, the “green” beauty world is FULL of options. it‚Äôs really easy to get overwhelmed! i remember when i first started and how i felt like an electronic hoarder of ingredient safety information and peer-reviewed research. i soaked up everything i could.

but now, with so many different opinions on “natural” alternatives, where do you begin? how do you begin?

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be an educated consumer

there are SO many “green” options out there that you’ll need to sift through countless offerings to find what works for you. research the available options, research ingredients, research companies, research product reviews, etc. don’t ever stop learning! being an educated consumer is my top priority in anything i share with you all.
when in doubt, reach out!

take baby steps (or don’t)

just because you’re switching over doesn’t mean you have to throw everything away and start completely from scratch (although you most certainly can).¬†don’t overwhelm yourself!¬†if you get too overwhelmed, it’ll be ‘easier’ to become more unmotivated to stick with the transition. you’re putting yourself through a lifestyle change. give it time! try to have patience. start with the basics.¬†save money by not buying everything all at once. ¬†give yourself time to learn as much as you can about each category of options before you switch.
my suggestion? start by switching out your shampoo/conditioner, then toothpaste, then deodorant. if you wear makeup, that’s an easy switch nowadays! i’d leave skincare last, as it’s the most intricate and expensive.

find a “green” community

you’re making a complete lifestyle change and there are like-minded people out there doing the same. we all have frustrations, we all have those “aha!” moments when things work beautifully, and we all have questions! don’t ever ever ever hesitate to reach out. this whole “green” community is full of people that have “been there, done that” and it’s a tremendous source of wisdom. learn from others and help others! i think supporting each other in this journey is so important! what other group of strangers will talk openly about their armpits with you just to save you from stinking?

this includes finding bloggers and instagram accounts to stay “in the know” and keep connected to the community.

stay open-minded

you’ll more than likely come across concepts and uses for things you’ve never heard of before. for example, water-only washing and brushing your teeth with charcoal. you just gotta keep an open mind and keep in mind that just because one thing doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean that nothing will work for you. for example on hair care, some people love co-washing, some love clay, and some love 100% pure’s line. it just takes time and patience.

don’t be afraid to DIY

don’t be afraid to mix things up or experiment. i really think that’s the fun side of venturing into “green” self-care. it’s like you get to play mad scientist.¬†you’ll know exactly what’s in your products. you’ll be able to tailor everything to meet your specific needs (and those of loved ones). and lastly, you’ll probably save money.
my suggestion: oil cleansers, facial serums, and hair oils are great starter DIYs, that also ensure you learn the fatty acid composition of different oils and how they interact with your skin. knowing this will allow you to filter out products that won’t work for you, solely based on reading an ingredient label. it’s really empowering! this blog is also full of DIY ideas. poke around!

be proud

be proud of yourself. seriously. you’re putting yourself through a complete lifestyle change and you’re going against the socially acceptable norm. how many people do you think have the drive to completely change the only ways they’ve ever known how to care for their bodies after 20/30/40/50 years? YOU, my friend… YOU. so pat yourself on the back, and pamper yourself with a coconut oil scrub foot massage and a papaya face mask. you deserve it.

sending love,

XO, ALEXRAYE

DIY hydrating serum (bye, hyaluronic acid)

this is a serum that’s worthy of not just your face, but your body and hair, too. it’s oil-free, so you can layer it into your existing routine, or use it alone. because it’s extremely lightweight, i think it’d be great for warmer weather when you don’t want to feel like a greasy mess.

great for all skin and hair types, easy enough to make, and powerful hydration…. let’s go!

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you could say this is a dupe of sorts, as there are a growing number of green beauty companies selling tremella mushroom water as an expensive serum. i’ll let you in on a secret – it’s an easy DIY.

but why the seemingly increased interest in this fungus? well, it’s not new. us westerners are just late to the scene. tremella mushroom (tremella fuciformis) has been in use in china for YEARS. it’s used in TCM, cooking, and beauty products.

there’s quite a few research articles on it, stemming from medicinal uses¬†, like inflammation-related diseases, to external uses like¬†skin healing¬†¬†and melanin-inhibiting properties.

i’ve read a lot of articles indicating it was used in the tang dynasty by princess yang guifei (719-756!) to keep her skin radiant. that lady knew what was up.

it’s touted as a potent antioxidant and a deep hydrator. research shows it’s a nice hyaluronic acid replacement with better moisture retention¬†(move over, hyaluronic acid!), as the particles are smaller and the mushroom can hold 500 times its weight in water. super cool! it’s also naturally high in vitamin d.

the coolest part for us DIYers is when it’s hydrated, it naturally forms a gel-like consistency. that makes it perfect as a standalone product, or to incorporate into other DIYs.¬† let your creative juices flow!

now back to DIYing this whole body serum!

INGREDIENTS

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  • water or plant root decoction
    • water is necessary to hydrate the mushroom properly, hence why DIY is better than “buy” in this case. i would advise against a hydrosol for this, because you will be boiling it for over 20 minutes
    • check below for recipe variants, where you can opt to use a plant root decoction instead of plain water. super neat!
  • tremella mushroom
    • i used the powder because i had it leftover from this face mask recipe. you can feel micro little jelly shroom pieces when you rub it on but it goes away. if you can find the whole dried mushroom, it would make for a smoother gel serum. make sure the whole dried mushroom is not bleached.
  • aspen bark extract
    • preservative – absolutely necessary. no exceptions.
  • optional – water-soluble plant-based colorant
    • i used butterfly pea flowers for a pastel indigo
    • check below for ideas in the “variants” section
  • optional – 0.5% or less concentration of essential oils that are skin-safe
    • please check contraindications with your local herbalist, aromatherapist, and healthcare professional

TOOLS

  • sauce pan
  • measuring spoons
  • spoon for stirring
  • small glass jar for mixing
  • airtight glass jar for storage (i use these – not affiliate)
    • you might need a funnel

 

HOW TO

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this recipe ended up making about 5 ounces for me, so i used a 3.3 ounce pump bottle, and stored the excess in a jar. i’ll use that part up first.

  1. in a sauce pan on the lowest heat your stove top can go, intermittently stir 22 tablespoons of water (aka 1 cup + 6 tbs), and 1 tbs of tremella powder for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on how quickly yours gels up and the excess water simmers away
    • if you’re using the whole mushroom, boil the mushroom itself for 30 to 45 minutes in 3 to 4 cups of water. it should become gel-like and concentrated. carefully (it’s hot) squeeze out the extra juices from the mushroom and toss (or keep to eat)
  2. once cooled, pour the serum into a small glass jar for mixing
  3. add 1/2 tablespoon aspen bark extract powder and make sure it’s evenly blended
  4. add your colorants and EOs, if any

done! bottle her up!

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STORAGE

  • store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place
  • toss after 3 months or if the smell takes a turn

USE

  • spot test first for any skin reactions
  • you can use this daily before any creams or oils
  • suitable for all skin and hair types

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and as with all of my DIYs, you can of course customize this recipe to be your own! see some ideas below –

VARIANTS

  • instead of using plain water, try making a decoction with a plant root your skin loves
    • since it’s being boiled for so long, roots are more suitable than leaves
    • ex: marshmallow root, peony root, burdock root
    • as always, please check with your local herbalist and healthcare professional for contraindications when using herbs
  • water soluble, plant-based colorant ideas
    • hibiscus tea for shades of pink
    • butterfly pea flowers for shades of indigo
    • turmeric for yellows
    • matcha for greens

 

>> what do you think?? share your experiences with this mushroom below!

XO, ALEXRAYE

i answer google search terms that brought people to my blog

happy saturday, crunchies.

i thought this would be a fun one! the highlight of reviewing my blog stats is getting to read what people searched to wind up on my blog.

so let’s answer some of the most popular ones, shall we?

no long intro – let’s get into it.

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  • does the honey and cinnamon cleanse work?
    • short answer: studies indicate you can lose 0.5% to 1% body fat over the course of 30 days… OR you could just take a daily brisk walk.
    • longer answer: i posted about it here 6 years ago, when i still had access to my graduate research library.
  • how to get flawless skin
    • hmm “flawless”… i’m not sure i’ve ever encountered anyone with flawless skin. just accept and love yourself for what you are and have.
    • also important – try to eat a plant-based, whole foods diet with plenty of good fats, drink enough water, ensure you’re getting good quality sleep, find ways to reduce your stress, and keep your skincare routine simple (yet effective).
  • how do i get coconut oil out of my hair?
    • ooo girl, we’ve all been there. i’d advise you use a “green” conditioner a couple of times. i really like calia’s line of conditioners! if a coconut oil mask won’t come out of your hair after that, shampoo… and going forward, opt for small amounts of “dry” carrier oils on wet to damp hair, instead of a full blown hair and scalp mask.¬† i really like amaranth seed oil.
    • hello, 2014. yikes.

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  • does shea butter have spf?¬†
    • do not try to make your own sunscreen. you have no idea if you’re properly protecting your skin, and to have that tested requires a formal panel, testing, and thousands of dollars. i like Badger Balm sunscreens for my body and Josh Rosebrook’s Daily Nutrient Cream for my face.
  • how to scritch and preen
    • i first wrote and made a video about this in, i think, 2013, before it blew up on the internet. the quality is terrible, but my sweet baby cat who passed away is in it, so i left it up. anyway, this process is tedious, but it does make your hair super soft and healthy. check it out here.
    • please laugh with me at this –

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  • oil cleansing method before and after
    • aw, this one kind of got me in feels, because i wrote the original OCM post when my blog first starting blowing up.
    • look at grad school me –¬†ocmprepost.jpeg
  • red raspberry seed oil sunscreen
    • no.¬†i mean, does published research indicate red raspberry seed oil has SPF properties? well, sure, yes. but i’m embarrassed and disappointed in myself that years ago i posted DIYs about this. any company advertising sun protection from red raspberry seed oil legally needs to have passed the required, and very expensive, SPF testing. ask if they have. i’ve seen a few brands sell face oil blends illegally claiming SPF protection. it’s important to be an educated consumer and support ethical brands.
    • real life example of an illegal product information claim: “Although Glow Illuminizing Oil does not carry an SPF rating, we’ve packed it with organic SPF oils that naturally protect your skin from uv rays and also prevent damage, heal and regenerate skin cells.
  • list of carrier oils
    • i have an updated OCM post here that covers my favorite carrier oils that are all truly non-comedogenic and low in oleic acid (so people with acne-prone skin can safely use)
    • includes, but is not limited to: hemp seed oil, amaranth seed oil, prickly pear seed oil
  • is baking soda bad for your hair?
    • short answer: yes – it’s a pH problem. i encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions for your self-care ūüôā
    • yes, i know… i posted 6 or 7 years ago about how i was only washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar, and all i can do now is say “i’m sorry” and offer better DIYs and other options available for purchase. everyone has done things that make them cringe.
  • can i use witch hazel as deodorant?
    • yes! i have some DIYs here.

sending you love.

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exfoliating raspberry jelly

hi crunchies!

today we’re going to create a lightweight exfoliating jelly. it’s fun to use and functional. it can be used on your face, body, and scalp.

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*pic from Uvive Health

this scrub is super easy to make, but please note that this contains water and needs to be preserved… no exceptions. if you don’t, you have to use it within 48 hours and store it in the fridge. any more time and you’ll be putting some nasty bacteria on your face, even if you can’t see it with the naked eye.

the preservative we’ll use is pricey but a “natural” one. the company puts it on sale for 25% off every few months, if you wanna wait and see. there are cheaper options available, so feel free to research and see what works best for you.

INGREDIENTS

hibiscus is a nice water-soluble colorant, but is also known as the “botox plant.” i posted about it a few years ago¬†here.

HOW TO

  1. soak your hibiscus flower/tea bag in a cup of hot water until it turns a light to medium pinkish red. you don’t want it too dark because it can potentially stain counters, clothes, and light skin tones. once steeped, strain.
  2. add the 1/4 tsp powdered aspen bark extract and fully incorporate.
  3. very evenly and finely sprinkle your 1/4 tsp xanthan gum powder over the top and let it sit for at least 2 hours at room temperature. *do not stir* or it will clump into what we call “fish eyes.”¬† once hydrated and gelled, stir well.
  4. stir in your raspberry seed powder.
  5. store in a squeezy container for easy use.
  6. gently scrub from head to toe and rinse with warm water. follow up with your favorite moisturizer.

easy peasy and leaves you hydrated and smooth all over!

what are your favorite all-over exfoliators?

XO, ALEXRAYE

 

my current beauty routine

wow… it’s been 3 years since i shared my beauty routine with you.

i don’t know about you, but i love seeing what other people use to take care of themselves. do you?

let’s dive in –

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as always, nothing linked is an affiliate or benefits me in any way.

please share your current routines below! i really love to hear from you guys.

HAIR

i use both shampoo and conditioner now, due to living in a very dry and very polluted environment. it is what it is.

SKIN

TEETH

this hasn’t changed much, if at all, over the last few years.

DEODORANT

  • schmidt’s – geranium
    • i was using the lavender but my stank would come through before i left the office

PERFUME

we all know tsi-la is my ride or die, but here in mexico, sandovalis has stolen my heart!

NAIL POLISH

i’ve switched to exclusively using Zoya. they’re 10-free and vegan – rejoice!¬†but, i buy off amazon. sometimes it’s $1 cheaper per bottle, but i’m just amazon-loyal to be honest.

MAKEUP

i don’t really wear much. i’m contemplating getting my eyebrows microbladed, and if i do, i will probably stop wearing makeup completely. if you’ve had your eyebrows microbladed, please DM me your experience! @alexraye_ae¬†

HEALTH

i’m still taking the same supplements that a nutritionist advised to me.

with breakfast:

with lunch:

before bed:

 

don’t forget to share what’s a part of your current routine!

XO, ALEXRAYE