Saturday, February 25, 2012


We’ve all been there before…you walk into a department store and head for the health and beauty section. You examine a wide variety of cleansing bars and you choose one that seems to match your needs. It usually takes a few tries before you find that one soap that really works for you. Do you ever stop to look at the ingredients of this soap?(2) 

You are likely to find triclosan, which can disrupt the thyroid hormone and increased exposure can contribute to the development of breast cancer. You will find fragrance, which is usually a safe word for phthalates, a chemical that can cause birth defects and liver damage. There are so many chemicals that are used in nearly all "cleansing bars" sold in stores today. (2)

I often use the words “never put anything on your skin your wouldn’t eat!”

Whatever soap or cosmetics you use are absorbed through your skin into your blood stream. Health first, beauty second.

So what makes African black soap different that even Dr. Oz applauds it:
Raw Ghana Black Soap
  1.        African Black Soap comes from plantain skin, which is a natural source of vitamins A & E & iron. (1)(3)
  2. It is made with rare tropical honeys & pure unrefined Shea butter.
  3.      It contains a high amount of glycerin, which absorbs moisture from the air and literally deposits it into the skin, making the skin soft and supple. (2)
  4.   African black soap is unique in that it contains no preservatives, color enhancers, or fragrances. (2)
  5. It helps to heal acne, eczema, shaving bumps and spots. (2) (3) (4)
  6.    African black soap creates a soft lather without the animal fat additives that are commonly used in soaps made in the US/Canada. (2) Read more here

How Black Soap is Made
First, leaves and bark of various trees and plants are burned in a vat or kettle. These may be leaves from banana trees, plantain skins, palm tree leaves, Shea tree bark, and/or cocoa pods. 
Secondly, water is added to ashes to be filtered. Oils such as coconut oil, Shea oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and cocoa butter are added to the water to create the soap. 
The soap is then hand-stirred by local women for at least a day and then set out to cure for about two weeks.(2) (4)

The methods of making traditional black soap and its secrets have been passed down from generation to generation to keep the soap close to Mother Nature and avoid exploitation & imitations. Many have tried to create their version of black soap with all kinds of ingredients, but Ghanaian & Nigerian black soap are the best quality because they are ORIGINAL. (1) The most common form of  black soap which comes from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, Togo, and Benin republic is called Ose Dudu (Dudu Osun). Ose Dudu literally means Soap (ose) and Black (dudu).

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

There is no such thing as traditional liquid black soap. If you encounter liquid black soap bear in mind it is not traditional. There are liquid black soaps on the market made from natural ingredients. Do not confuse these with traditional black soap. Liquid black soap is new to the market and an extension of traditional black soap. If you are into natural products, you should ask your vendor what the ingredients are in their liquid black soap. (3)

For a liquid black soap, fill a container with the soft African Black Soap; crumbled or broken into smaller, more easily dissolved pieces. Add 20% purified or distilled water; again, that's 2 parts water to 8 parts black soap. Seal the container and set aside for several hours. This makes an excellent shampoo or shower gel. (2)

African Black Soap contains a whopping 48% unrefined Shea butter! The commercial soaps and lotions only add 1% to 4% ultra refined, which is too little Shea and it has the healing properties removed; it most likely was refined using a chemical process that leaves trace chemicals in the Shea butter. The average homemade Shea soap can only handle 10% Shea butter. How will I know the difference? Oh, you'll know! African Black Soap is made using a natural lye saponification with no preservatives added or needed. (2)

Where to buy Black Soap? Nharo Fair trade arts & crafts Inc

Warning: The FAKE SOAP is hard, black and does not even compare to the original. Real Black Soap is always brownish-black. The longer the plantain skins are roasted the darker the soap. But the soap is never completely black & it is not scented. (3)

  1. Dr. Oz Fans. “Dr. Oz: Acerola Cherry, Frankincense oil & Africa Black Soap.”. February 14. 2012. Web. 24 February. 2012.
  2. Mad hatters Wholesale. “African Black Soap.” 03 April. 2012. Web. 23 February. 2012.
  3. “A Brief History of Black Soap, Alata Samina or Anago Samina.” N.D. Web. 22nd February. 2012.
  4. “African Organic Black Soap.” N.D. Web. 23 February. 2012.

Do not copy©

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What is Rhassoul Clay?

“Consumers have real power they are not exercising, we need to let cosmetic companies know we’re not going to buy their products unless they make a strong unwavering commitment to safety.” Janet Nudelman, Safe Cosmetics Campaign. (1)

My job enables me to work with women-owned co-operatives and female producers in Africa.

Recently I received a sample of 100% pure [chemical free] Rhassoul clay from Morocco. 

More times than I can count, I've watched many of our customers buy Rhassoul for skin care purposes...but what I've found very intriguing is when some buy it solely to Shampoo with!

So, I decided to give it a try...

Personally, I believe that nature has given us everything. But marketing and advertising convinces us otherwise.

What is Rhassoul clay?
Rhassoul comes from the Arabic word "rassala" meaning "washing’’. It is found deep beneath the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. This clay is probably one of the most perfect clays in the world, because it is ideal for all skin care and dermatological uses(3)
Rhassoul has been used for over 1400 years by nobles in ancient Rome and Egypt as a soap, shampoo and skin conditioner. It has an outstanding ability to cleanse, nourish and condition the skin and hair. (3)

Properties of Rhassoul clay?
Easy to use Rhassoul is 100% natural and ecological.
It contains higher percentages of silica, magnesium, potassium, calcium and other trace minerals than other clays. These minerals make the clay highly detoxifying as they can actually exchange themselves for toxic compounds like metals in the skin. The clay not only works to remove impurities from your skin, it also replaces them with nourishing trace minerals. The clay's high level of ions exchange makes it ideal for toning and enriching the skin. Perhaps the best part about Rhassoul clay is what it doesn't contain! No petrochemical derivatives, no synthetic preservatives, no surfactants or artificial colors ... all of which are common in commercial soaps and cleansers.(3)

Uses of Rhassoul clay?
Rhassoul clay may also help to improve the appearance of skin troubled by eczema, psoriasis, acne and rosacea. In addition, it helps with dandruff and thinning hair. (2)(3)

Using Rhassoul Clay as Shampoo?
The amount of Rhassoul clay you use will depend on the length and thickness of your hair. 

  • With a non-metallic bowl and spoon mix the clay with warm water or rose water to obtain a smooth creamy paste let the mixture hydrate for 5 to 10 minutes.(3)
  • Wet your hair and divide it into 4 sections. Curly hair is delicate and can be oversensitive to rough handling so apply clay gently.
  • Leave it in your hair for about 15 – 20 minutes. 
  • Rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water, then condition and style.

The results are fantastic! Rhassoul removes build-up and leaves your hair clean, and moisturized!

I conditioned with Carina’s Certified Organic Daily light conditioner {I left it in my hair for approximately 1 hour} and then rinsed off with apple cider vinegar.

CARINA'S INGREDIENTS: Aqua, Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, Pinus divaricata (pine) extract, Pinus banksiana (pine) extract, Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, Urtica dioca (nettle) leaf extract, Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) leaf extract, Trifolium pretense (clover) flower extract, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Oil, Pyrus malus (green apple) extract, Ananas sativus (pineapple) extract, Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Curcurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Beeswax.(4)
Ingredients in Latin & Scientific names. English translation in brackets.

Store your clay in the fridge or cool dark place. 
How to store your mud: in airtight non-metallic container in the fridge for up to one week. (3)
Where to buy Rhassoul clay? Nharo Fair trade arts & crafts Inc. $9.50 (165g)

Your thoughts?

  1. Ephraim, Rebecca. The Ugly Side of Pretty.  Dragon Fly Media. 1 February 2005. Web. 16 February. 2012
  2. DIY Beauty: Rhassoul clay facial cleanser. 3 December 2008. Web. 16 February. 2012.
  3. Rhassoul Clay. n.d. Web. 16 February. 2012
  4. Nature’s blend with certified orgnaics. n.d. Web. 16 February. 2012
  5. Images:alifedeliberate;  
Do not copy©

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Moroccan oil review: SILICONE alert!

Have you ever wondered why silicone is bad for your hair? Read this article slowly & carefully, it may answer some of your questions.

What is silicone? Silicones are synthetic polymers.

In layman’s terms: synthetic polymers are derived from petroleum oil and made by scientists and engineers. 1

The word POLYMER is a more technical term for plastic! 2

Which brings me back, again, to the same question: “Why would anyone want to put petroleum oil or plastic on their hair or skin?”

The first 3 ingredients in Moroccan oil are silicones. 

Below is a break down of Moroccan oil’s ingredients in comparison to Moroccan Argan oil [100% Pure]

          Moroccan Oil             vs        100% Pure Argan Oil

Cyclopentasiloxane: While silicones plastic such as cyclopentasiloxane do not appear to have adverse effects on the human body, there are many concerns regarding the harmful effects it may have on the environment. For this reason, many countries like Canada have requested the silicone industry to provide more information and scientific data regarding its safety. 
Cyclopentasiloxane may cause mild skin and eye irritation, according to the ingredient's material safety data sheet. Also a small percentage of it reaches systemic circulation through dermal absorption, as found in a study by the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences. 4

Dimethicone is a  silicone derived emollient. Silicone emollient is occlusive - meaning they do not allow the skin to breathe (much like plastic wrap would do.) Recent studies have indicated that prolonged exposure of the skin to sweat, by occlusion, causes skin irritation. Some synthetic emollients are known tumour promoters and accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes. They are also non-biodegradable, causing negative environmental impact.
  1. Dimethicone
  2. Dimethicone Copolyol
  3. Cyclomethicone
Silicone was and still is used as breast implants. Tens of thousands of women with breast implants have complained of debilitating symptoms. Anecdotal evidence indicates silicone to be toxic to the human body. For more detailed information on the dangers of silicone simply key "silicone toxicity" into the Google search engine. 3

Butylphenyl methylpropional: is a synthetic fragrance
. Adverse effects – Skin irritant, sensitiser. In animals, skin applications at high concentrations caused sperm damage and central nervous system effects such as drowsiness and breathing difficulties. 5

Argania spinoza kernel oil: Argan oil (however there is no indication as to whether it is cold pressed or chemically extracted. If it is chemically processed there is a high probability that most of its unique properties have been lost).

Linseed extract, comes from the seed of flax plants, it is a mucilage emollient that is soothing to skin. 9

Fragrance supplement: limited information.

D&C Yellow-11, Color safe for external use only, is however not approved for use around eyes, or in eye products. 6

D&C Red-17 (CI 26100) characterized as a possible carcinogen. 11

Coumarin formerly the active ingredient in rat poison. A carcinogenic ingredient used in the manufacturing of deodorants, shampoos, skin fresheners and perfumes, and found here. 6

Benzyl benzoate has been shown to irritate the skin with some individuals, and should be avoided by those with a perfume allergy. The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) has restricted the use Benzyl Benzoate in fragrances because of the potential dermal sensitization. In Europe, it is listed as an "allergenic" substance and the European Cosmetics Directive requires OTC leave-on products to indicate its presence, even at concentrations of .001%. 7

Alpha-isomethyl ionone the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) banned this ingredient from being mixed into fragrance products (i.e. perfume, cologne). But you can still find this ingredient in a variety of other cosmetics that are not categorized as a “fragrance." 8

Often referred to as “liquid gold,” argan oil has long been valued in Morocco for its cosmetic and medicinal benefits. Extremely rich in vitamin E, antioxidant-packed argan oil has also been prominent in European skincare products for centuries, after its first appearance in Amsterdam in 1711. 10

Produced from the kernels of a rare and ancient tree, argan oil is all natural and completely organic. With cold-press extraction, the argan kernel yields a lightweight oil that absorbs much more quickly and yet is far less greasy than other oils, including olive oil. That fast rate of absorbency coupled with argan oil’s store of moisturizing essential fatty acids and anti-aging carotenes make it ideal for cosmetic purposes, as it quickly softens skin and reduces the fine lines of aging without clogging pores. 10

100% Pure Argan Oil Is Natural, Non Toxic and a superfood for your skin, hair & nails! 10

Are you in need of a silicon hair detox?

  • We recommend switching to silicone free brands to wash, condition & moisturize your hair!
  • Try making your own recipes…
  • Choose 100% Pure Moroccan Argan oil [it's a natural alternative].

Your thoughts?

  1. “What is the definition of synthetic polymer.” Plastics 240. N.D. Web. 04 February. 2012.
  2. “Natural vs. Synthetic Polymers.” Carnegie Mellon University. 2009. Web. 04 February. 2012.
  3. “Chemicals in Cosmetics – Toxic Ingredients in Skin Care Products.” N.D. Web. 26 January. 2012.
  4. Cyclopentasiloxane.  1 January. 2006. Web. 26 January. 2012.
  5. “Understanding Skin care and cosmetic labels.” 10 February. 2010. Web. 26 January. 2012.
  6. “List of More Widely Known Dangerous Ingredients in Body & Food  Products.” Pure Zing…for a better lifestyle, n.d. Web. 26 January. 2012.
  7. Benzyl benzoate.  1 January. 2006. Web. 26 January. 2012.
  8. Alpha-isomethyl ionone.  1 January. 2006. Web. 26 January. 2012.
  9. Kirchheimer, Sara. “Moroccan Oil Ingredients.” 21 November. 2011. Web. 26 January. 2012.
  10. “Rediscover the Beauty of Your Youth With Anti-Aging, All-Natural Argan Oil for Beautiful Skin, Hair, and Nails.” N.D. Web. 27 January. 2012
  11. Platzek, Thomas. Kraetke, Renate. “Risk assessment of colourants used in cosmetics in the E.U.”  Federal institute for Risk Assesment Berlin, Germany. D-14191. Household & Personal Care Today.  April 2009. Web. 19 January. 2012.
(c) Shakara Natural Tips 2012