Parabens are easy to spot as they usually end in ‘paraben’ on ingredients lists. For example; methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben etc. But why are some products specifically paraben free?
All cosmetics which contain water need a preservative added of some kind. To kill any moulds and funguses before they have a chance to grow within the product. (Be wary of natural cosmetics that contain water and claim not to use preservatives. They won’t stay fresh for long!) Preservatives are necessary in water-based products, but there are concerns over parabens. Concern as to whether or not they are safe to use.
According to some recent(ish) scientific studies, parabens were thought to be linked to the development of cancerous tumours, specifically breast cancer. From the Breast Cancer Fund website, “Measurable concentrations of six different parabens have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors (Darbre, 2004)”.
The presence of parabens in some breast cancer tumours has been proven but the role that they play (if any) in the development of cancer is still under debate. Although is not 100% proven, it still sounds scary as parabens are absorbed through the skin.
So best to be avoided, just to be on the safe side.
The shampoos and conditioners I make all contain water (otherwise they’d be waaay too concentrated). They do all need a preservative as putting mould onto your head is never a good idea! I’ve chosen one which is a broad spectrum preservative. Meaning it is active against bacteria, yeasts, fungi and mould. It’s paraben- and formaldehyde-free. Although it has a well documented safety profile, as with any cosmetic ingredient whether natural or synthetic, it can be a skin irritant or allergen for some people. So if you have very sensitive skin I would always recommend buying a sample size first.
On Wednesday last week I attended the brilliant Enterprise Nation Beauty Exchange. It was a fantastic day of speakers and panellists (beauty bloggers, buyers and entrepreneurs) discussing cosmetics. I had a very interesting conversation with Debbie Hunter from the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (ctpa). We talked about the myths and misinformation surrounding parabens. She told me that parabens are considered by the Association to be one of the safest preservatives used. So in the interest of giving fair and balanced information, I have updated this post. She also informed me that the recent avoidance of using parabens has led to a rise in the use of Methylisothiazolinone (MIT or MI) in a lot of cosmetics. Now this particular chemical is causing sensitivities in consumers and may be banned soon.
Thankfully, I don’t use MI in any Hairy Jayne formulations!
There is more information here about parabens here – www.thefactsabout.co.uk
What causes frizzy, pesky hairs to misbehave so? Summer time can be bad time of year for an attack of frizz, but then again winter can be just as bad with all that central heating and rain. Why and how can you get back some control?
• The two main causes of frizz are both to do with moisture:
1. Humidity – the amount of water vapour in the air. Also, drizzle.
2. Hair dryness – a lack of moisture inside the actual hair strands due to sun damage, too much styling, too much colouring or just plain old naturally dry hair. (This is why the dreaded white ones stick out all over the place so much. White hair gets drier when it loses it’s pigment, making it more prone to frizz).
• How to manage frizz:
1. Shampoo less frequently. Every 2 days at the most, but leave it longer between washes if you can. Dry shampoo will help you to wean yourself off over-washing if you have a habit. Or try just conditioning every 2nd wash rather than shampooing every time.
2. If you can, especially in the summer and if you have the hair type for it – air dry as much as possible. Squeeze out the excess water and make sure you’re not rubbing the hair with a towel as this will feed the frizz. Be gentle. Use a wide tooth comb or vent brush to get out any tangles (fine tooth combs will only remove any lovely natural texture you have), put in your product, then shake out and go.
3. If you aren’t blessed with hair that looks great air-dried (or you need to get out of the house quick) you may need to blow dry it. Use a heat protector! This will stop your hair from becoming even drier by acting as a protective barrier between the heat and your hair. And it’ll weather-proof it against humid conditions.
4. If you do blow-dry your hair, do it in at least two sections. If you don’t do the underneath first and then the top, the top will get over-dried and this will lead to frizziness. Concentrate on getting the roots dry first, and if you can, dry the ends to about 90% and then leave to air-dry. Using a hairdryer on hair that’s already dry is what causes damage. If you have two heat settings on your hairdryer, switch down to the cooler setting for the last part.
5. If your hair is curly or wavy, use a diffuser, as this will disturb your natural texture less and keep the waves/curls from breaking up and going haywire. Again, do it in at least two sections to make sure the underneath dries as evenly as the top layer. Use your fingers, not a brush, and twist any rebellious bits around you finger into get them to smooth out. When your hair is bone dry, shake it out a bit – don’t brush it if it’s curly!
6. If your hair is straight but you find it still has frizzy, fly-away bits, make sure that when you’re blowdrying you’re pointing the nozzle down the hair, not against it, whether using a brush or fingers. Use the cold blast on your dryer at the end to ‘set’ it and knock out any static.
7. For all hair types – once your hair is bone dry, if there’s still frizz, use a serum. Or if you have really fine hair and find serums can be too heavy, you can use a ‘shine spray’ (see Hairy Jayne Hair Perfume) which is a bit like hairspray but without the sticky hold.
8. Product wise – the best frizz repellants are silicones. Controversial old silicones (see my post here). They are in pretty much all serums (including some of the so-called ‘Argan’ oils around at the moment). If silicones aren’t your bag, anything moisturising will do marvels for your hair (see Nourishing Shampoo, Treatment Conditioner).
• Quick fixes for emergencies:
If you find some frizz has turned up to surprise you whilst you go about your day, the following will (or should) do the trick…
1. Olive oil. The teeniest drop at a time, rubbed into your fingers, and smoothed over naughty sections will add a moisture boost.
2. Moisturiser. As above.
3. Vaseline type lip balm (not the waxy kind). I wouldn’t recommend doing this all the time, but if it’s an emergency…
4. Dryer sheet. Probably works on straight hair best, apparently patting it onto your head removes static from hair in the same way it does clothes. Not sure you’d be carrying one around though…
It’s nearly time for the Crafty Fox market to pop up again… ALWAYS a fun day to be had!
This Spring I’ll be trading at both the Peckham and Brixton ones, on the SUNDAY of both weekends. If you’re local and curious about the products and would like to see them in the flesh, so to speak, or to have a little sniff – do come along and say hello.
The other traders are a hand-picked bunch of brilliant designer makers selling their quirky creations. This time curated by Amelia Gregory of Amelia’s magazine and David Nicholls, the Design Editor at the Telegraph. The full listings are on the Crafty Fox website.
It’s a good idea to detox your hair when you’ve been involved in any of the following:
1. Swimming in a chlorinated pool.
Deep cleansing will help get rid of the smell and get the chlorine out. Chlorine is damaging to the hair, it is always a good idea to wash and condition it straight after swimming.
2. Berating your hair for “just lying there, doing nothing”.
It may be a bit depressed, for reasons unknown. Detoxing will give it a little lift.
3. Overdoing it with the silicones.
Like any of the good things in life, silicones are fine in moderation, but overindulging can lead to problems. Most styling products contain them, especially heat protectors, and used sparingly they’re quite harmless. But it doesn’t hurt to do a deep cleanse from time to time to avoid too much build-up.
4. Using Dax Wax or other hardcore styling gunks.
Any waxes, pomades or pastes containing petrolatum or mineral oils will definitely build up in your hair over time unless you detox them every once in a while.
5. Having a change in water.
Going from soft to hard water and vice versa when you travel to different places can wreak havoc with how your hair feels and behaves.
Getting away from it all and sitting by the bonfire is one of my favourite things. The smokey smell is lovely at the time, but back in the city – not so good.
7. Festival-going for days on end, rolling around in the grass (and usually mud).
Again, one of my personal faves. One of the best bits being the hot shower (and shampoo bottle) awaiting you when you finally get home.
If you regularly experience any of these problems, or tend to have naturally oily or greasy hair, use Deep Cleansing Shampoo as your regular shampoo. Otherwise, use Nourishing Shampoo as your regular shampoo and Deep Cleanse when you feel the need.
So how do you achieve this Deep Cleanse?
1. Firstly, get your hands on some Deep Cleansing or Men’s Shampoo. And some Treatment Conditioner if your hair is longer than a crop. If your main mission is to remove an unpleasant odour like chlorine or smoke, go for the Men’s Shampoo (not strictly for men) as the fragrance is made up of Peppermint, Basil & Bay – a very fresh, herbal scent. If you’re just doing the odd Deep Cleanse, get yourself a sample size bottle – 50ml will do about 3-5 washes (depending on how heavy-handed you are.)
2. Usually when you shampoo, chances are you’re missing out quite a bit of the hair and scalp round the back of your head. The hair line and fringe area (the bit you see most) – fine. But to really get in there round the back, tip your head forward and part your hair into two sections (as if you were doing pigtails). Wet your hair through without moving the hair, then apply the shampoo all along the parting you’ve created. Flip your hair back and apply more shampoo to the hairline as you normally would.
3. Now, get your fingers to do an “I’m coming to get you” or “I’m holding an invisible ball” pose, like the pic. Keep your fingers locked in this position and massage the shampoo thoroughly into your scalp. This is how they do it at the hairdressers!
4. Leave the shampoo on for a few minutes to allow it to get down and work it’s magic. It may need a bit of time to dissolve any stubborn build-up. Go about your usual shower routine while it does it’s thing.
5. Next, rinse with hot water (not cold). Rinse for a bit longer than you think you need, just to make sure it’s all out.
6. Lastly and very importantly, if you have hair that’s longer than a crop, you must now condition it. After all the cleansing, the cuticle of your hair has most probably been left slightly open, which leads to rough, tangly, not-so-shiny hair. But while it’s open, you might as well get some moisture and goodness right in there. Squeeze the excess water out of your hair. Use some Treatment Conditioner on the mid-lengths ends only (no where near the scalp). Leave for a minute or longer. Rinse very well, until it no longer feels ‘slimy’ (for want of a better word!)
Tah-dah – fresh, happy, revitalised hair awaits you.
Here’s a quick and easy one with a proper vintage feel!
Brilliantine – a light pomade used by the menfolk once-upon-a-time to keep their slick-backs, well, slick.
From Wikipedia – Brilliantine is a hair-grooming product intended to soften men’s hair, including beards and moustaches, and give it a glossy, well-groomed appearance. It was created at the turn of the 20th century by French perfumer Edouard Pinaud. He presented a product he called Brillantine (from the French brillant meaning “brilliant”) at the 1900 Exposition Univerelle in Paris. It consisted of a perfumed and coloured oily liquid. “Brillantine” was used as the French title for the film “Grease” in Quebec, Canada.
Here’s a handsome dream-boat demonstrating the finish one can get from brilliant Brilliantine, made with the following recipe. I sprayed the product into dry hair and combed back to style. It takes a few minutes to dry in and doesn’t dry hard, so the hairstyle stays malleable and can be re-combed. It has a very light hold, so keeping a comb in your pocket is a good idea.
The product is very runny, so like the DIY Salt Spray, you will need a spray bottle of some kind. I made my version without fragrance, but you can add some if you’re feeling fancy.
It’s very simple – just two (or three) ingredients!