Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mortem's Apothecarium: A Hairy Situation.

Lots of things have been happening.
So much, that I am deciding to trickle it throughout the subsequent posts so as to not overwhelm my blog with too many of my life updates. Plus I lose a lot of writing steam when I make the posts too "private life" specific.

It's been a while since I posted in my apothecarium, I've been taking a short break from my sewing since the first projects to come out of my awesome and most fabulous sewing room were two of those dreaded totes I kept making in New Mexico. How ironic that one of them is made with Cowboys material, though they're both shipping back to NM...

I hope they're the last two I'll make in a really long time. These make my 9th and 10th totes, and if you know me, you'll know I absolutely detest making something that many times... but I am a people pleaser, and if I can make people happy then I am quick to say yes.
I am often asked how I don't burn out sooner from sewing, it's simply because I keep my projects fresh and new. When I don't, I do burn out as thus.

Anyway, Texas has taught me a lot about myself in the short month or so... like, I never knew my allergies could get any worse than they were.
It's been so bad that my entire body was thrown off tune. I was exhausted everyday, though I don't even have a job except to keep the house tidy. My eyes burn, my skin itches and I sneeze all. The. Damn. TIME. With being so exhausted, and not feeling so attractive because of it all I have really neglected my image.

So I began tackling my problems one minor symptom at a time, starting with my hair.

The most I did/do with my hair these days is throw it into a tail and make pretend beards with it...
It was all I could do! Something in my body was whacky!

Though it seems that by saying something went whacky, I suddenly grew hair in odd places... no, it is not so, heh. My hair was oily. Not in the "starting to look a little rough" kind of two day oil, but in the "Did one of BP's carriers have an oopsie on your head?!"

Call the clean up crew, this one's a doozy
It was clunky, chunky and really dang gunky. Washing my hair everyday only exacerbated the issue, as one might assume... but I was desperate. I felt filthy even after I had showered. I tried an ACV rinse, but even after 2 weeks it did nothing. So I tried letting a couple days pass between showers, and it started looking like that might work. It wasn't quick enough, though-- I was self conscious every time I stepped out the door, which in turn amplified my already severe social anxieties, and low self esteem.

While at Sprouts I took a detour to try and find myself a clarifying shampoo, because I've done the whole adding essential oils into my shampoo and I just didn't feel like going through a very cluttered tiny bathroom/shower again. I know a lot about the clarifying effects of tea tree oil, so I had a general idea of what to look for. I took home a bottle of Nature's Gate Tea Tree shampoo omitting the conditioner, since conditioner on an oily scalp is not typically recommended during a cleanse.

I never used Nature's Gate before, never even heard of it till I went looking down the aisle, and I only briefly read the reviews on my phone before buying it.

It is amazing. Simply amazing. After one wash the oiliness was reduced greatly-- I had a single grease spot near the nape of my neck (which has always been my trouble spot). Second time around, my entire scalp was clean! Success!
Although, because I haven't been using conditioner in the shower my ends have been rather thirsty, so I started using leave-ins again just around the ends-- I am currently using Palmer's coconut oil hair milk.

This combination has been working pretty awesomely. Plus my hair is all levels of wonderful smelling, too. Who knew tea tree oil and peppermint complimented coconut so well?

I didn't want to go back to showering everyday, though I wanted to-- the tingly and clean sensations of this shampoo are addictive.
I am still very much about water conservation here, so my research extended into dry shampoos. I admit for the sake of my wallet a bit, too; spending $10 on a small bottle (I might add) of tea tree shampoo, and $9 for the conditioner for my amount of hair is going to prove expensive in the long run if I don't make the most of each dollop of product in these bottles.

I was looking for a more simple ingredient make up for dry shampoo brands... but my visit back to Sprouts for that yielded a unanimous 'hell no'. They were expensive-- yeouch. My research then took a U-turn into DIY, as it tends to do when faced with a predicament like this.

I found the most common recipe for a homemade dry shampoo is arrowroot powder with equal parts cocoa powder for darker haired maidens. However, and this is going to take away some of my Halloweenite points, but here goes...
I didn't fancy the idea of my hair smelling of chocolate.
... I know, I know!
Chocolate belongs in my belly, not so much my head...
I began altering the recipe using essential oils that not only benefit my scalp, but also overpower the cocoa smell.

Patchouli and Eucalyptus. Yep... they certainly did the trick. I mixed and mixed till the powder was pretty much infused with their scent. I then sifted the powder to take out the chunks of resiny patchouli, and my mixture was done.

I cleaned out an old gum container to store the powder in for use. It's actually pretty handy, those little containers-- they have a spout for small deposits, or you can open the big flap. I bought a $3 brush from Wet n' Wild to apply the powder to my head, because sprinkling it onto my scalp posed a challenge of applying too much on my floor sometimes...

I applied it onto 4 day hair, which was surprisingly not as greasy as my second picture (that shampoo is magic). It gave me a glimpse of what I may look like with greying spots, and I actually kind of liked it. I have always thought greying patches on people look ultra fetching and distinguished-- here's looking at your greying doll's out there! You make my heart swoon.

The results? Even more surprising...

That's 4 day unwashed hair? WUT?!

I think I recovered a bit of my spark again.
I've been playing around with a lot of really easy and cute styles-- I might just go ahead with my intention of posting a list of my favorites, too-- and they are easy, I promise... take it from someone who can only make a barely passable bun and braid, heh.

Edit to add:
I feel like a putz, I didn't write in the recipe for the altered powder!
I made a tiny batch, but it looks like it'll last  me a month when used in conjunction with the brush; minimal waste, maximum coverage.

You'll need:

  • 1 part arrowroot powder-- 1 tbsp
  • 1 part cocoa powder-- 1 tbsp
  • 2 parts parts patchouli oil-- 8 drops
  • 1 part eucalyptus oil-- 4 drops
You'll mix it with a tiny whisk for 10 mins, and then sift it into a container of your choosing. Brush onto oily parts of your scalp and let sit for 5 mins before brushing it out. Look into mirror and admire!


  1. Wow, love your tote bags they look amazing and so professional made, v. jealous of your talent. lol After a while making people things and sewing the same pattern can be tedious. Still wow, I might have to try homemade shampoo

    1. Thank you, I think they are very handy bags that's for sure... maybe I'll make one for myself one day, heh.
      Yeah, that is one of few reasons I don't sell anything I make, heh. I just can't stomach the idea of making things over and over again.

  2. I miss my long hair, I really regret chopping it all off although I've found it easier to maintain. Strangely, since my hair is shorter now I've experienced an increase in oil, perhaps I'll give this shampoo a try!

    1. I didn't find my long hair to be overly difficult to maintain in the past... then again, I didn't do anything at all with it on most ocassions, including brushing lol. Then moving here to Texas, obviously that is not the case-- I have to assess my hair's health and what it needs. What a pain lol.

      I hope you do try it, and post about it. Still not 100% sold on it, to be honest and perhaps it's because I'm still trying to get used to not showering that often... but I like that my hair doesn't look too bad. I like that the color of the cocoa compliments the red shades in my brown hair.

  3. Ooh Since cutting off my really long hair, my hair is super oily. I may try this too. Your hair looks amazing and like always, I always admire your sewing talents!

    1. Thank you!
      The oily biz is no bueno. I hope yours resolves quickly!

  4. "...really dang gunky." Ha ha! :D

    I have the opposite condition - dry skin and hair. It was easily manageable in humid Georgia, but when I moved to dry Colorado, my scalp began to itch and I started shedding like a Golden Retriever. Nature's Gate Tea Tree (conditioner in my case) saved my scalp. It is the only product that keeps my head happy when winter humidity drops to the single digits. (Tip: VitaCost has good prices (currently $6.31). I stock up on a few products about twice a year so I get free shipping.)

    For a little splurge, you might want to try (but not say three times fast) Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo. It's pricier than Nature's Gate, but it gives your scalp an awesome refreshing tingle. :)

    1. Whoa whoa, hold the bats... I think you may have softened a little of the sting from my wallet with that link! I am still going to shower less, but it's nice to know I'll be saving a few $$ when I have to repurchase! Good to know you've had success with Nature's Gate-- have you done a review of them? I probably would've done it sooner if you'd have mentioned it somewhere that I read lol.

      I will definitely take in those recommendations when I go for some more product-- thanks!

    2. I don't recall writing about Nature's Gate conditioner. I guess I think of dry scalp and hair as a relatively uncommon problem. But the amazing thing about tea tree is that it helps polar opposite skin problems.

  5. Interesting home made dry shampoo. I only wash my hair twice a week but as a result I use a fair amount of dry shampoo although I can get it around here for £1.50 so it's quite affordable but I have been wanting to do something a little more natural and environmentally friendly rather than gassing out my bedroom to fix my greasy fringe.

    1. It is interesting, I'm pretty happy about the fact that I know what's going into this recipe-- my skin is sensitive to everything synthetic it feels like, heh. Probably why I'm always scouring for and creating those beauty routine products in my cabinet.

  6. Interesting home made dry shampoo. I only wash my hair twice a week but as a result I use a fair amount of dry shampoo although I can get it around here for £1.50 so it's quite affordable but I have been wanting to do something a little more natural and environmentally friendly rather than gassing out my bedroom to fix my greasy fringe.

  7. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Madame MM! I've only just started experimenting with making things like face washes and creams. It's always exciting to learn new recipes! I wonder how the cocoa powder will look on real live grey hair? LOL

    I know you're sick of making the totes, but they sure look awesome - better than anything you'd find in a store. Mad skillz, you have. :)

    1. No problem! But I can't take full credit... a lot of DIY beauty blogs/vlogs have it sans the specific oil mixture I included. Though a lot do suggest to add something in there. I was very curious how it would fair with my hair... as I am now curious how it will for you! Please, do let me know!

      Heh, thanks... it is likely I won't see the last of that tote. It's excruciatingly popular... and to be honest, I am not that adverse to making it again for the right people =P
      Like I said, I'm a people pleaser, and I like taking care of people I like and love

  8. I use simple starch as dry shampoo - it takes a little more time to brush out and I admitedly have lighter hair than you, but the price can't be beat! Did you ever consider washing your hair with soap? Because I do and I love it so much! I use natural soap with 6-9% extra fat and could reduce my washing rhythm from every day to 2-3 days. My hair is fine and if I wash it less (or don't use dry shampoo on day 3), I look worse than your BP accident...

    1. I can't use a straight white powder because as you've pointed out, my hair is dark-- I did try it though! It was just really obvious I was using some powder in my hair, hehe. Admittedly, arrowroot powder in combination with the oils and cocoa powder make this an expensive product. Not per gram of product, though, once you break it down-- that and I also use the individual ingredients for other things =P

      That was just one day after showering, and in some cases later in the day after I showered >.<. I was first thinking it was some kind of scalp infection, because it was so bad. I didn't even want to see how it would look beyond that time... just frightening. I'm elated that Nature's Gate worked, otherwise my self esteem would have been devastated. I tried bar shampoo a few times from different companies/small businesses, but I kept getting a waxy consistency to my hair no matter how thoroughly I rinsed with ACV-- it was weird. I am still open to finding one, though... I'm trying to limit the amount of packaging waste I am producing.

  9. I am glad you found something that works well! My scalp has recently decided it likes keratin shampoo which I would have thought would be the last thing it would like!

  10. Ok, those bags are amazing!

    I love the scent of chocolate, and might have to try cocoa dry shampoo at some point :)


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