I received these products free for review. All opinions remain my own.
When Joanne from Honey Pot Herbals approached me about a review, I scoured her Etsy shop eagerly to see what kind of products she had to offer. In the end, I decided to tell her my most pressing body-care issues in the hopes that she would have a product to recommend. After all, I have since learned that this is what a Herbalist does!
If you follow my blog regularly, you’ll probably know that I have been making my own shampoo for almost two years. While I’m overall super happy with the results, the one issue I had yet to solve was my recurring dandruff. Even with adding some tea tree oil to my shampoo, I was still making it snow all year round with a shake of my head. The only solution I had found was to do a 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water soak on my scalp once a week. This works, don’t get me wrong. It just stinks…
Joanne recommended a new hair care regimen for me:
– A weekly scalp treatment with a coconut and tea tree hair oil;
– Washing and conditioning with Critter Check Neem Shampoo & Conditioner.
This delightful smelling oil mixture contains coconut oil, tea tree oil, cedarwood and other oils. It is meant to be applied to the scalp on a weekly basis, and left to sit for 15-30 minutes.
I just completed my fourth treatment this week, and I’ve perfected my application technique thanks to my Aveda hairdresser! I paid attention to how she applied her essential oils blend to my scalp for my relaxing massage (best part of the Aveda Experience, by the way). So now, instead of randomly using the dropper to squirt oil onto my head, I now part my hair at regular intervals, apply the oil, then massage in. Then, I let it sit for close to 30 minutes.
My biggest beef with the scalp treatments I’ve made myself is that despite thorough washing, my hair is still greasy the next day. I wash my Honey Pot Herbals oil out with the Neem Shampoo, and, except for right at the nape of my neck where I clearly am not rinsing enough, my hair is not oily at all the next morning. (If I do miss a spot, I can apply my dry shampoo and the problem is solved.)
Neem Shampoo & Conditioner
I am a big fan of not washing my hair often. I strive to wash my locks only twice a week, and so far, since switching over to Honey Pot Herbals, I’ve been able to maintain this routine! (Switching back to most mainstream shampoos, I suspect, would mean I’d have to wash more often.) I wash once following the hair oil treatment, then once again later in the week.
After the hair oil treatment, I scrub my scalp with my nails to work the Neem Shampoo in, and I let it sit as I wash the rest of my body. (FYI: I bathe the rest of my body more often than I wash my hair!) I apply the conditioner to my ends, only.
After a good scrub with the Neem Shampoo, when I come out of the shower I can actually see the flakes stuck in my hair, but none coming freshly from my scalp. This is in contrast to when my dandruff was not being treated, and I would come out of the shower and have a scalp full of dander, which would simply increase if I scratched or brushed. After the Neem Shampoo, I run a brush through my hair, dry it, and the flakes are gone. No more flakes appear, either, if I scratch at my scalp. Victory!!
So you might have noticed that the Neem Shampoo is called “Critter Care.” Although initially created by Joanne for a client with psoriasis (which causes major flakes), Joanne most often sells it as a treatment for lice! Hey, I’ve never had lice, but I can definitely confirm that it chases the dandruff away.
The single pitfall of Neem Shampoo is that it doesn’t smell amazing. Now, let me be clear: it smells significantly better than the tar shampoo treatment I used as a teenager and much less like salad dressing than my previous go-to treatment of an apple cider vinegar soak. Neem Shampoo does not leave any odour on your hair, so fear not. I simply point it out because we have been trained to expect our shampoo to smell like Herbal Essences (which means it’s full of unregulated, synthetic chemicals under the umbrella term of “fragrance”).
In between shampoos, if I look super close at my scalp in the mirror, I can start to see a few teeny, tiny flakes returning, but nothing like the blizzard I was experiencing before.
I will definitely be restocking on Honey Pot Herbals Neem Shampoo and hair oil when my supply runs out. I don’t feel like my hair needs the additional step of conditioner, especially since I’ve now got it quite short. If you have long hair that tangles, or dry hair, I’d recommend the conditioner, too.
Two other products from Honey Pot Herbals:
Baby Bug-a-Bye Lotion
I told Joanne I was always looking for safe sun protection for Cub and me. She recommended her Baby Bug-A-Bye Lotion, which is a sunblock rather than a sunscreen.
If you haven’t checked out my Interview With a Herbalist post, here’s what Joanne had to tell me about her sunblock:
There is sunscreen and there is sunblock. This is not just semantics, but an important distinction. Many commercial sunscreens use chemical ingredients which prevent sunburn by absorbing UV rays into your skin and then chemically altering the UV rays so that they do not cause sunburn.
Sunblocks, on the other hand, use minerals, such as Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide which prevent sunburn by reflecting the UV rays away from your skin. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, both of which are in the Baby Bug-a-Bye, combine to provide a broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
There are a wide variety of chemicals that may be in commercial sunscreens. There is a lot of information online regarding the good, the bad and the ugly of chemical sunscreens. Also, most commercial sunscreens and lotions contain other ingredients which can be a cause for concern, for example ethoxylated emulsifiers and potentially harmful preservatives.
I try to keep my products and formulas as simple as possible and as unrefined as possible and yet still make a safe, quality product. The emulsifier (the ingredient that binds oil and water together) in our lotions is non-ethoxylated and derived from certified organic coconut oil. We use an excellent, natural product for a preservative: fermented radish root!
There are a number of other sunblocks that use Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide. We use the same amount of mineral sunblocks as these other products to provide an SPF of 30. It is effective; I will burn like a lobster in about 15 minutes, and Baby Bug-a-Bye effectively prevents my lobsterization!
I am not as good of a test subject for Bug-A-Bye because lobsterization is not in my vocabulary. My skin is naturally tanned, and so is Cub’s (feel free to hate us). We’d have to go quite near the Equator to really put it to the test. (One time, in Mexico, is the only time in my life that I’ve had a burn.)
I have no doubt about the safety of Bug-A-Bye for both me and Cub. However, it is not as easy to apply as I need it to be in order to get Cub suitably creamed without a major melt down. Even the most easy-to-spread-and-rub-in sunscreen leads to toddler tantrums! On myself, I can usually spare the extra time to rub in the cream, and I like the totally non-greasy, matte finish on my face. Being a block, it’s probably not surprising to note that it is slightly whitening. It would probably depend on your skin’s natural hue how obvious this is.
Lavender Hydrosol Spray
Please, friends, ditch the Febreze! If you want a spray to freshen up fabrics or rooms, try something perfumed with essential oils.
I’ve been using my Lavender spray to cope with odours created by both the toddler and the adult male in my house, as well as a way to refresh myself now that our bedrooms are quite warm at night. The smell is gentle, relaxing and fresh, as lavender tends to be!
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