My husband is a scientist and couldn’t be more anti hair dye. At the same time as being anti, he has been the one to dye my hair and he’s done a great job! But over time he has worn me down and I am now growing out my hair and will be a la natural! This has got me thinking — what is it in hair dyes that are so nasty?
So I headed to the National Cancer Institute Website in America to find out more. Turns out in the late 1970s hair dye ingredients were changed as chemicals were found to cause cancer in animals. The Website says the evidence of increased risk to cancer from hair dye is, however, inconsistent. So to date, it is yet to be proven that hair dye causes cancer. Well that’s good news!
Next I turn to the FDA who says several coal-tar hair dye ingredients have been found to cause cancer in lab animals: 4-methoxy-m-phenylenediamine (4-MMPD or also called 2,4-diaminoanisole). For this reason these chemicals should be listed on the box, so you know they’re in the hair dye. Other chemicals found to have caused cancer in at least one animal species are 4-chloro-m-phenylenediamine, 2,4-toluenediamine, 2-nitro-p-phenylenediamine and 4-amino-2-nitrophenol.
Next I thought I’d do a wee test. I put together a list of common chemicals found in hair dye that can cause nasty reactions and have listed them below. Then I thought I’d see how many of them were in my hair dye at home. The chemicals are:
4-ABP: A common byproduct produced during hair dye making process. 4-ABP is seldom found in brown dye (but it is frequently found in blonde, red, and black dye).
P-phenylenediamine (or PPD): Helps hair dye to remain bright after lots of washes. PPD is toxic to the immune system, nervous system, lungs, kidneys, and liver and has been linked to serious allergic reactions, including blistering and burns on the skin.
Resorcinol: Is an endocrine-disrupting chemical. Meaning, it can interfere with the normal production of bodily hormones. The European Union has declared resorcinol to be a harmful chemical that damages the environment and causes severe irritation to the eyes and skin.
Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is a corrosive chemical found in hair bleaching products. Tests conducted on animals have revealed that it is toxic to the digestive system, the lungs, and the nervous system. Although it is illegal to add hydrogen peroxide to personal care products in Canada and Japan, many countries still allow it.
Ammonia: Is a potent skin irritant that can cause swollen or red eyes. Note that ammonia is sometimes used in place of PPD in hair dye, and it is preferable to PDD.
Lead Acetate: Is a dangerous chemical (toxic to the brain and nervous system) found in some hair dyes that gradually (rather than immediately) darken hair.
My hair dye at home is a well known brand, which I brought from the supermarket. Of the six chemicals listed above, my hair dye has four of them and the amount of each chemical was stated on the box. My hair dye didn’t have lead acetate or 4 ABP (as it’s a shade of brown).
What I took from this exercise is that if you dye your hair, you’re not going to avoid these chemicals. Rather, it’s important to understand what these chemicals are and how they can adversely affect you so you can make an informed decision on whether to use hair dye or not. I’m choosing not to, but for years I did and never had a bad reaction.
So the choice is yours.
All’s fair in love and it should be the same for Easter.
In case you aren’t aware of it, there are currently children as young as 10 years old working on cocoa plantations in West Africa, the source of 75% of the world’s cocoa.
So if you can, do take at lease one of the actions below for 2013 Fair Trade Chocolate for Easter Campaign:
Buy only ethically produced chocolate such as Fair Trade, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Eat only Fair Trade Chocolate during Easter.
Talk to five people you know about Fair Trade chocolate and encourage them to talk about it, too: at work, in school, at church, on social media.
For more information and additional things you can do to help the campaign, visit the Good Shepherd site.
Remember that when it’s Fair Trade, it’s all good.
When I was brainstorming for this blog the first thing that popped into my head was the difficulty I have at times of coming up with fun activities for my toddler. This is especially true when Easter has two stat holidays and lots of places will be shut.
So here’s some ideas:
- Check out your community newspapers for local events being held over Easter
- Play backyard cricket with the kids and have them pretend to be Michael Clarke or Brett Lee
- Take the kids for a bus ride (something I haven’t done yet with my boy)
- Visit a construction site (very pertinent for me here in Christchurch with the earthquake rebuild)
- Take the dog for a walk
- Visit your local museum (they’re usually free)
- Dive into your local pool
- Play dress ups
- Play board games if it’s raining or try charades if the kids are older
- Visit your local gardens
- Visit the grandparents (and enjoy the Easter goodies you’ll be given)
- Check out your local beach. Remember to put your rubbish in the bins provided or take it home
- Go for a bike ride – try going further afield and visit your local mountain bike tracks
- Set up your play dough to have an Easter theme – make eggs and decorate them.
Well here’s some great stuff to do.
Have a happy Easter and remember if you have any ideas I’d love you to share them.
Image from: http://cig-icg.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/easter-recess-save-dates-and-climate.html
Easter is just around the corner and there if you haven’t made concrete plans yet, there are several events going around Australia that you might just want to pop into.
Bendigo Bank Bendigo Easter Festival, Australian’s the longest ongoing festival that has been held annually for 140 years, will have four exciting days of fun and entertainment for all ages, from 29 March to 1 April 2013, at the Rosalind Park, Pall Mall, Bendigo, Victoria.
Programme includes roving entertainment, a carnival, movie screenings, an animal farm, a labyrinth, farmers markets, and several Easter Egg Hunts. All for free.
If the White House in the U.S. will have wooden eggs for its Annual Egg Roll egg hunt, we can top those yanks and do even better by showin’ our creative skills with our version of eco-friendly eggs.
So let’s get crackin’ (egg joke) and have fun at it, while teaching our young ‘uns how to help keep our planet green (without having to use real eggs that won’t all get eaten, anyway, even when you use natural dye) with paper mache eggs.
Here are what you need:
- 1 cup flour
- 2 cups water
- 1 pinch table salt
- 1 large mixing bowl
- Colourful paper, cut into small strips (re-purpose and use old gift wrappers, tissue papers, leftover scrapbooking papers)
- Optional: ribbons, sequins, glitter, yarn, blings, and any other decor you might want!
- Clothes pegs or cups
What you need to do:
1. Mix the flour, water, and salt in a big bowl until there are no more lumps;
One of the best fruits out there happens to be a fave of mine — blueberries. The best part about it is the health benefits they offer.
A Massey University study in New Zealand has found that blueberries, when eaten, assist athletes to recover faster from exercise. So if you love your exercise you might like to try blueberry smoothies to help your muscles repair after a hard workout.
The study, using 10 female athletes, involved the women being given blueberry smoothies before, during and after exercise. The test was then repeated giving the athletes smoothies without blueberries. The study found that the blueberries produced a higher level of antioxidant defense in the blood and improved the rate of an athlete’s recovery.
Not only do blueberries aid muscle recovery, but studies also show blueberry consumption improves mental health and inhibits fat cell development. Woo hoo!
So add blueberries into your diet and enjoy! Here’s a blueberry and banana muffin recipe you might like to try…
Blueberry and Banana Muffins
These muffins can be kept in an airtight container for up to three days or you can freeze them.
- 300g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g sugar
- 50g porridge oats , plus 1 tbsp for topping
- 2 medium ripe bananas
- 284ml carton buttermilk (you can substitute with plain yoghurt)
- 5 tbsp light olive oil
- 2 egg whites
- 150g punnet blueberries
Heat oven to 180C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases. Tip the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Hold back 1 tbsp of the sugar, then mix the remainder with the flour and 50g oats. Make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl mash the bananas until nearly smooth. Stir the buttermilk, oil and egg whites into the mashed banana until evenly combined.
Pour the liquid mixture into the well and stir quickly and sparingly with a wooden spoon. The mix will look lumpy and may have the odd fleck of flour still visible, but don’t be tempted to over mix. Tip in the blueberries and give it just one more stir. Divide the mix between the muffin cases, then sprinkle the tops with the final tbsp of the oats and the rest of the sugar. Bake for 18-20 mins until risen and dark golden. Cool for 5 mins in the tray before lifting out onto a rack.
Autumn is here and though it may be my favourite season, I suffer from hay fever and it has been getting worse each day. I am, apparently, 1 of the 20% of the New Zealanders who suffer from it. Sick and tired of nasal sprays and having to take antihistamine to get by — and yet still on occasion have a clogged nose — I decided today to search for a better way to manage this allergic rhinitis of mine.
1. Diet Change – Easier said than done. But including more of these types of food to lessen the symptoms is worth the shot, methinks:
Cold water fish like sardines, salmon (An excuse to eat sushi more. Yay!), and mackerel; garlic (Okay, gotta add more in dishes I cook), onions, apple cider vinegar (Ooh… I try to take a tablespoon with a glass of water everyday now.), horseradish, probiotic yogurt, flaxseed fibre, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and walnuts.
What to avoid? Apparently gluten, sugar (Uh oh… Hard for a baking afficionado like me), salt, and dairy products (Hmm… Can I give up milk and cheese and butter?!) for a full week.
One of my favourite discoveries the past few years is apple cider vinegar and I keep finding more and more reasons to love it and keep using it.
Remember the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well, the same goes for apple cider vinegar that is a completely natural product – the result of apple juice fermentation to hard apple cider, followed by another fermentation to apple cider vinegar). Retaining all the nutritional goodness of apples and fortified with extra acids and enzymes produced during the two fermentation procedures.
Now wonder it’s so brilliant!
Among the many benefits of apple cider vinegar are:
1. Facial Toner (Oh yeah!) – dilute it with water 50/50, but take extra caution that none of the solution gets into your eyes. For acne treatment, 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water is advised to be dabbed onto the pimple.
Shannon Lush, if you haven’t heard of her, is an Aussie cleaning guru who loves eco friendly products. She’s had her own TV series and features regularly on talkback radio as well as publishing books including Stainless and Spotless. You can visit her website here.
If you’re a Kiwi, you can listen to her every Saturday on Graeme Hill’s Weekend Variety Wireless, Radio Live, from 8:15 to 8:30am (AET).
Here’s Shannon’s eco-friendly cleaning kit:
Bicarb Soda: When mixed with white vinegar, it cleans hard surfaces.
White Vinegar: Mix with bicarb soda and a chemical reaction occurs.
Methylated Spirits: Removes pen marks.
Lavender Oil: When mixed with water, becomes a mild cleaner and deodoriser. Great for finger marks on walls and general light cleaning. Also works as an air freshener and insect repellent. Mix one teaspoon per litre of water.
As I mentioned in Part 1, a mum’s work is never done and one of the sticky challenges we often face is removing stains from clothes and the carpet. Since it is always best to rid of those stains the eco-friendly way, here are the rest of the usual suspects and how to deal with them:
Grass stains usually come out when immediately washed and with stain treatment (Orange Power Pre-wash Stain Remover for me) on white or light coloured clothing. A few other tricks include:
1. Rubbing alcohol or methylated spirits or white spirits can be a quick no-wash treatment for a grass stain, but note that this stain treatment can “bleed” the colours of the fabric. As a precaution, try using a 50:50 solution of alcohol and water first, then use straight alcohol.
2. If the garmet is white and can be bleached, an eco-friendly bleach solution like Oxygen Bleach should work. A better alternative to bleach would be white apple cider vinegar that won’t damage clothes.
3. Soaking the stain in a solution of water and detergent like Euca would be ideal, wash as usual afterward.
4. When trying to eliminate grass stains, don’t use ammonia, degreaser or alkaline detergents because they may permanently set the stain.