Happy Scalp Shampoo Bar

If you live in the U.S., chances are you’ve been stuck inside your house for the past three months. Social distancing has been tough for me: it’s hard not to see my clients and know that many of them are in jail or out of work, I hate not seeing my friends and family, and my emotions have been all out of whack. But isolation has also been a quietly joyful time where lots of people have rediscovered the power of domestic pursuits. Seeing everyone trying out sourdough and home haircuts gives me hope that work that has traditionally been relegated to women, especially Black women, will experience a renaissance, complete with the appreciation it truly deserves.

For those of you stretching your DIY muscles for the first time in a while, welcome! I’m here to tell you that making soap and shampoo is not as scary or as complex as it might initially seem.

Today’s recipe is a shampoo bar – perfect for those of you who want to cut back on plastic, wish you didn’t have to pack tiny bottles when you (eventually are able to) travel, or want to avoid using sodium laurel/laureth sulfates on your tresses.

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Flaxseed Gel For All Your Coiffure Needs

Let’s talk about how sexy it is to run your fingers through someone’s hair after they’ve put gel or hairspray in it. Spoiler alert: it’s actually not that sexy. Even if you firmly reside in the “no one can touch my hair” camp (no worries, I’m your neighbor!), you have to admit that most hair holding concoctions leave a lot to be desired. They turn your thousands of lovely locks of hair into crunchy, hard clumps that have to be gently combed out so that you’re hair doesn’t break (ugh) or washed out before you even think about doing anything else with your hair (double ugh).

Flaxseed gel is not most gels. It somehow magically holds your hair in place while keeping it pliable. It doesn’t leave any buildup or flake off if you decide not to wash your hair immediately. And it’s next to free. The cost breakdown here is almost laughable because all you’re using is water, 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds (which go for $2-3/pound) and maybe a drop of essential oils. The only downside to it is that it’s a lot less shelf stable than most things I like to make. It’ll stay good for 2-4 weeks if you refrigerate it; meaning if you use a lot, you’ll probably have to make a new batch every month. Luckily, it takes less than 10 minutes to whip up.

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Wax On, Wax Off

You know how those nights go. You’re home alone, it’s late and you’re poking around on Netflix hoping to find a movie good enough to justify staying up until all hours of the morning. You eventually settle for the first decent looking movie with the word “lesbian” in the description, only to find yourself exhausted at work the next day, wondering why you thought it was a good idea to pass up sleep for travesty that is Elena Undone.

Caramel_posterThat’s how I found Caramel. The thing is, though, it didn’t suck. It was cute, the characters were interesting and insanely pretty, and I learned something new: you can wax your legs with sugar! Instead of feeling cranky the next morning, I leapt of of bed like an overexcited kangaroo and ran to the grocery. Three failed attempts and a melted candy thermometer later, I finally managed to make something usable.

Making caramel takes time and a little finesse. There are two ways you can go with it: the semi-solid, silly-putty route (like in the movie) or the painted-on liquid avenue. Today I’m going to teach you how to make the liquid version. The recipe is a little more forgiving because the temperature doesn’t have to be quite as precise for it to work, it doesn’t require nearly as much patience to use and you can easily bottle up your leftovers to use next time.

There’s something weirdly satisfying about waxing. Yeah, it’s time-consuming and messy, but it’s also a pretty fun way to spend an hour with yourself. That’s not to say it’s for everyone. Lots of people like shaving and lots of people like keeping their hair attached to their body and both of those things are more than fine. I’m okay, you’re okay.

But if waxing’s your thing (or might be your thing), start your crafty little engines. We’re talking honey-colored kitchen science candy that costs less than your tip at a salon.
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