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Shampoo You Can Share with the Dog (Review + Giveaway)

The truest thing about my hair right now is that it needs to be cut.

emo self portrait

Taking a self-portrait is awkward.

I don’t “do” my hair. Never have.

I require an easy, preferably bedhead-ready, cut that will look decent for the average 5 months I go between visits to my stylist. On top of that, I want my ‘do to be just a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.

That’s not much to ask, right?

The photo above was taken on a good hair day – two days ago, at the end of the day, following about three weeks of using only natural products on my hair.

Specifically, I have been using a Lavender Neem Shampoo bar and Apple Cider Vinegar with Lavender Hair Rinse from Baltimore Bumble Crafts. For styling, I have been using Pomade by Nutressant.

This post is about the shampoo bar and hair rinse.

Baltimore Bumble Crafts Lavender Neem Shampoo Bar

Shampoo bar. Image courtesy Baltimore Bumble Crafts.

apple cider vinegar hair rinse

After a couple weeks of spritz-and-rinse.

Vanessa Nakoski, the woman behind Baltimore Bumble Crafts, makes an ever-growing line of bath and beauty products. She specifically recommended the Lavender Neem Shampoo bar for me because it’s also safe for dogs.

After a couple weeks of using the shampoo bar on my own hair, I decided to try out it out on Scooby the elderpin.

Scooby bath time

For illustrative purposes only. This bathtime photo was taken years ago.

Scooby doesn’t get many baths, but he doesn’t mind them, as long as the water is warm and no one tries to stick a toothbrush in his mouth. He has incredibly short, thin fur.

Using a shampoo bar on him instead of liquid soap was actually quite convenient. It was easy to suds him up and evenly distribute the soap. Afterwards, he raced around the house at top speed.

While he was still wet and for a couple days after, his fur carried the lightest scent of lavender/neem. I liked that the smell wasn’t overwhelming and can only imagine that with a nose thousands of times more powerful than mine, Scooby did, too.

The best part of the Baltimore Bumble Craft shampoo bar when it came to Scooby is what it didn’t do – give him dandruff.

Typically, within a day or two of a scrubdown, Scooby’s skin will get a little flaky. This is why I don’t generally bathe him more than once a month. It’s been five days since his Baltimore Bumble Craft bath, and he hasn’t flaked, yet. Awesome!

dandruff-free dog

Flake-free miniature pinscher

On my head, the results of the shampoo bar were a little more mixed.

That’s probably because Scooby lives his life pretty much au natural. Dude with the collapsing trachea doesn’t even wear a collar most days, much less hair gel. (Can you imagine?)

I, on the other hand, have been washing my hair and putting petroleum-based stuff in it almost every day for basically my whole life.

There’s gonna be a transition period. And, to be honest, I’m not all the way through it yet.

However, I can say this about my trial use of the Baltimore Bumble Crafts’ lavender neem shampoo bar: The first couple of days were great. My hair felt light and clean. After that, I entered what I’m told is the gunky period. As your hair and scalp work to find the new, right balance of natural oils, the tresses might not look or feel so awesome.

Using the Baltimore Bumble Crafts apple cider vinegar and lavender hair rinse two or three times a week helped. On those days, my hair didn’t feel so weighed down or clumpy in the back.

And, no, I did not walk around all day smelling like vinegar. The scent dissipates as your hair dries.

I cheated a few times by mixing a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap with my shampoo bar suds. That helped, too.

So did figuring out how to use the bar correctly.

Oddly enough, it took scrubbing the Scoob for me to realize I wasn’t lathering my own head correctly. Even as a crazy dog lady, I hesitated before using the shampoo bar on myself after washing the dog with it, but I had to.

As I scrubbed him, it occurred to me that on my own head I had been focusing more on my long hair strands when I should have been creating some lather on my scalp and working it down to the ends. Duh!

It’s safe to say that I’m still getting the hang of this natural shampoo thing, and I will continue to experiment with different products and routines until I figure out what works best for me.

In the meantime, I’m so happy Scooby and I got to try out Baltimore Bumble Crafts.

One lucky reader (in the U.S.) will get to try a shampoo bar for free, too!

To enter, simply visit Baltimore Bumble Crafts and report back here with a comment about other products you’d like to try.

To receive additional chances to win your own Lavender Neem Shampoo Bar, follow the link below.

Click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received free products for myself and one for a giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
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Why I Stopped Using Commercial Hair Products

We’ve been weaning ourselves away from commercial household and personal products for a while now.

Portland portrait

Being natural in Portland last year.

Having discovered Nutressant, the Kansas City company that makes all manner of organic, non-toxic Substances One Needs for Everyday Life, we never get toothpaste, lotion, deodorant or bar soap at the store anymore.

Nutressant even inspired us to make our own laundry detergent. (DIY dish detergent is next on the list!)

Although I am gradually working toward a totally hippie-fied, all-natural existence, a few transitions have been harder to make.

Like hair. (And a whole host of dog products.)

Several months ago, Zach and I watched a movie called Chemerical. The documentary looks closely at the levels of yucky chemicals an average family is exposed to every day via common household and personal products. The family in the movie is challenged to give up all that stuff and instead use only natural and homemade alternatives for a year.

The college age daughter in the house is all for the experiment. Until it comes to her hair and make-up products. She totally freaks out when forced to get rid of all her storebought stuff and begins secretly hoarding a small stash of it. As I was watching, I remember scoffing at the girl.

“Get with the program,” I thought.

Yeah. Get with the program.

The truth is that the process of switching from commercial shampoos to the natural kind isn’t easy.

Nutressant even warned me when I tried their shampoo – because it’s not petroleum-based, it’s not powerful enough to cut through the residue left on your hair by commercial shampoos, which tend to be petroleum-based.

Only oil breaks down oil. (That’s the secret behind Dawn dish detergent’s magic ability to clean oil-slicked seabirds.)

However, at the time, I wasn’t quite ready to give up all of the other, more expensive, hair gunk I had acquired over time from my stylist.

assortment of hair products

So, I cheated.

I used the expensive hair products and a mixture of Nutressant and commercial shampoo but was never able to cut the cord completely on the chemical-laden stuff. Fail.

However, when I was recently presented with an opportunity to review another kind of handmade, organic shampoo – one that is also safe to use on the dogs – I decided to try a little harder.

It wasn’t easy, but I chucked all those pricey hair products. It’s a new day.

Come back tomorrow to learn about my – and Scooby’s – experience using a Baltimore Bumble Crafts shampoo bar! (And in my case, a vinegar-based hair rinse, too!)

Baltimore Bumble Crafts Lavender Neem Shampoo Bar

Shampoo bar. Image courtesy Baltimore Bumble Crafts.

In the meantime, if you’re thinking about making the change from regular to natural shampoo, check out this guide from A Green Routine.

Have you ever used natural shampoo?

Wayward Living Tip: DIY laundry detergent

This is not soy sauce.

image

After talking about it for months, Zach and I finally took a big DIY plunge recently. We made our own laundry detergent.

It was so easy!

Although we had the three necessary ingredients on hand – borax, washing soda and a bar of soap – we whipped up our first batch with a pre-made mix purchased at the Farmers’ Market from our friends at Nutressant who have already turned us on to natural toothpaste and natural deoderant.

The little brown bag contains equal parts borax and washing soda and shredded cheese pre-grated soap, plus instructions for mixing it all up.

Basically, you just need to add water to the mixture and heat it over the stove, stirring until the soap flakes dissolve. Then, you add more cool tap water and pour it all into your desired container. In a little while, the liquid turns into a jelly-like state and you have homemade laundry detergent. Plus, you get a label to afix to your end container.

image

Nutressant’s mix costs $9 and is supposed to make enough detergent to wash 64 loads. The Nutressant folks assured me that the “low suds” recipe would be safe for our high efficiency washing machine, and that seems to be true. No problems so far.

That is, we’ve had no problems with their mix or our own.

We were so excited after making the Nutressant stuff that we immediately made a bunch more of our own laundry detergent. Zach grated the soap — a bar of Nutressant we had on hand. He also added a few drops of essential oils like lavendar and eucalyptus as we transfered our detergent into bottles.

The whole prepping and mixing process took less than an hour and yielded us the equivalent of over two bottles of commercially-availalbe detergent.

We’ve been using homemade detergent for about three weeks now, and I don’t think we’ll ever go back. Our solution is way cheaper, involves no scary, hard-to-pronounce chemicals and is much easier on the environment.

I’m not giving you a precise recipe here because we kind of eyeballed things, based on the Nutressant directions.

But here’s a tip: It’s not recommended to use just any old bar of soap. There are specific kinds of bar soap that are considered laundry soap (Zote is one). You mainly want to avoid using any extra-moisturizing bar soaps becuase they could leave oily stains on your clothes.

The next time we mix up detergent, I’d like to try this Instructables recipe, which calls for a combination of washing soda and baking soda.

Washing soda is supposed to cut grease, while baking soda deoderizes – both key elements for clean clothes.

To learn more about the benefits of non-toxic household products, I recommend the website and documentary Chemerical.

Would you ever make your own detergent? If you have, please share any tips in the comments!

Wayward Living Tip & Giveaway: Vegan Deodorant


A while back, I wrote about how I gave up commercial toothpaste in favor of natural toothpaste. Since then, I’ve discovered that the same brand makes another product I love to use every day: deodorant.

This makes me an ideal customer, according to Sandy Francis, who operates the company Nutressant with her husband John. She says:

“The two most important products we offer are the toothpaste and deodorant, as both have a significant impact on our health and are products that most people, male and female, use daily.”

Athough evidence is not conclusive that traditional deodorants increase the risk of breast cancer, I gave up my Secret long ago. Why chance it by slathering such suspect ingredients as aluminum and paraben under your arms when natural alternatives exist?

Many people’s hang-up on this issue has to do with the fact that a lot of natural deodorants do not double as anti-perspirants. So, you might smell OK, but you still end up with wet pits.

I used to counteract this effect by combining two natural products — Burt’s Bees Herbal Deodorant spray and Tom’s of Maine Deodorant stick. Between those two companies, I could have found a single item solution.

But then I found Nutressant, which is made and marketed in the Kansas City area. Bonus points for buying local!

Like all Nutressant products, the deodorant with antiperspirant contains all vegan ingredients, including shea butter and non-GMO cornstarch. The only weird thing about it is it doesn’t roll on. The ideal way to apply it is with your fingers. (I just rub it in right after my morning shower and I’m good to go for the day.)

For those worried about making the switch, the Francises include some detailed instructions on the back of their product.

image

If you live in Kansas City and want to try out some Nutressant products, you can find John and Sandy at various farmers’ markets around the metro.

They will also ship their wide variety of personal care and household cleaning products just about anywhere. Head over to the Nutressant fan page on Facebook or e-mail julesfran@aol.com to learn more.

Want to win some FREE Nutressant products? You can. Here’s how:

  • PRIZE: Pre-selected assortment of Nutressant products donated by the company.
  • TO ENTER: Comment on this post with the words “I WANT TO WIN!” and explain why you love — or would like to try — using natural or organic personal care products.
  • GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Saturday, March 10, 2012 at midnight CST
  • NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
  • PRIZE SHIPS: Within the 50 United States
  • USUAL STUFF: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Sunday, March 11, 2012 as an update to this post and on the Wayward Dogs fan page on Facebook (which you should totally LIKE). I will also email the winner on the 11th for mailing address to send the prize out. Got it?
This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. Congratulations to the winner: Bethany K.

Wayward Living Tip: Use natural toothpaste

This is the year I dropped out of the debate over Crest vs. Colgate. My toothpaste (which I do not share with my dogs because it contains Xylitol, a substance toxic to dogs) tastes like sea salt and cloves or faintly of spearmint. I can use it with a dry toothbrush and swallow it if I have to. Since I began using it, I no longer find myself addicted to breath mints and I don’t wake up in the morning with a yucky taste in my mouth. My toothpaste leaves my teeth feeling smooth and clean. And although we didn’t discuss my choice in toothpaste directly, I think my dentist would agree: I got a glowing, cavity-free review at my last check-up.

I get my toothpaste from Nutressant, a local company operated out of Mission, Kansas, by husband and wife team John and Sandy Francis. They make an ever-expanding line of organic, toxin-free personal care products and household cleaners, including bar soap, lotions, deoderant and laundry detergent. According to the couple:

“We are passionate about making and providing you with Body Care products that contribute to your health and also protect our water and soil. We feel it is important to recognize the connection and how we impact the health of this planet.  All our products are petroleum and chemical free, and therefore, will not irritate the skin or pollute the planet.  All ingredients are vegan.  All fragrance is from essential oils which are plant based.”

I met John and Sandy over the summer at the Waldo Farmer’s Market. Around Kansas City, you can also find them and their stuff at the Brookside Farmers’ Market and occasionally at BadSeed. On December 10, you can find them at the KC Organics Holiday Market at Notre Dame de Sion High School (10631 Wornall). Or, you can order Nutressant products on Facebook.

Tonight, if you join me at the Ham-BINGO charity fundraiser for the Thomas Hart Benton Group of the Sierra Club, you will have a chance to win a huge basket full of Nutressant products, in addition to a whole lot of other local art and products.

Will I see you there?

Mondays just got cuter

Have you been wondering how that custom magnet of stinkin’ cute little Simba the poma-poo turned out?

Simba was, too, until Magnet Lady Kathleen Henn sent it to him in the mail:

Here’s a close-up on the art:

I think Kathleen does fabulous work. The colors and detail of her hand-painted magnets are even more impressive in real life, under natural light. They also look awesome on a fridge.

I’m such a big fan of Kathleen that I’m dubbing Mondays from here on out Magnet Mondays. She’s agreed to let me showcase different examples of her work plus the backstory every week.

Because this is the first-ever Magnet Monday, let’s look at one more piece of her awesome art. This one’s a little different from what you’ve seen so far – it’s wildlife art. And this Wednesday between 8 and 10 p.m., someone will win it!

Kathleen donated the otter magnet to be part of the prize packages I’ve been putting together for a charity BINGO event benefitting the Thomas Hart Benton Group of the Sierra Club. Her creation will be featured along with works by other local artists, plus a basket of goodies from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, a collection of organic body products by Nutressant, free passes to a theater production by Musical Theater Heritage and much, much more.

If you will be in the Kansas City area this Wednesday night, please join me and the Sierra Club for Ham-BINGO at Hamburger Mary’s in the Crossroads district. You can find complete details at the Facebook event page.

Next week on Magnet Monday, I’ll share one of the custom magnets that Kathleen made for me. If you have ordered a magnet from Kathleen that you’d like to see featured at Wayward Dogs, let me know.

Remember, you can order magnets any time by e-mailing kathleenhenn@yahoo.com. Be sure to put Wayward Dogs in the subject line, and she’ll donate $1 of your purchase price to Friends of KC Animals.

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