Sunday, June 28, 2015

Make your own Coconut Butter

yummmmm....coconut Butter
I love coconut butter, or coconut mana, although, I don't use it like many people do... I don't use it as a butter, but rather put a spoonful of it in my breakfast smoothie, my husband puts a spoonful in his oatmeal, and I put a spoonful of it into our daily yogurt...

I love it in yogurt.. You can pour it on the top and leave it to harden, so it's kind of like that hard shell topping people eat on icecream..yummmm.....I also like to put a spoonful in the yogurt and stir it around and let it sit for a minute or two.. It creates a super creamy yogurt with a great coconut taste..

I'd been buying Nutiva coconut mana for a couple of years, but the price just kept going up and up and up.. It's now about $8.92 a jar, which is about $2 more than it was when I first started buying it.. I've also purchased a couple of jars of the Coconut Butters available. I can't tell the difference between Coconut Mana and Coconut Butter, other than the price. It has the same ingredients and it taste identical.

It's simple to make and really saves money, plus I like it better.. My handmade coconut butter, or mana, doesn't separate the way the product I buy does... When I get a new jar from my online supplier, I have to warm it and then stir it, and stir it, and stir it some more... It takes quite a bit to get it really stirred up, and to be honest, it's a messy job..

I'm not sure if it's because this type of product is made in huge quantities and by time it's shipped out, it's sat long enough that it separates naturally, or what, but my homemade product doesn't do this.. Maybe because we start using it right after I make it and continue to use it daily until it's gone.. At any rate, I like that the homemade stuff doesn't require constant restirring..

All you need is a food processor and a bag of unsweetened coconut. I use Bob's Red Mill brand that I buy from Amazon in packs of four.. I've used both flaked and shredded and either one works.. I prefer the shredded, only because it turns into mana, or butter, faster. 

I'm not a big food processor person, but I bought one just for this project. 
I purchased an inexpensive Hamilton Beach Food Processor in September of 2013 for $27. It's still working great and has more than paid for itself in the savings alone. 

All you do is pour a bag into the food processor and turn it on.. 
It turns from this, 
To this in 10 minutes or less.
Just keep processing until it's smooth, like creamed butter. 
You may need to stop half way through and clean off the sides with a Spatula, but I've found with the shredded coconut, I don't even have to do that. 
I saved quite a few of the jars from the Mana product I used to use, so I just scoop the fresh Mana into one, twist on the cap and it's good to go.  No need to refrigerate (in fact, don't refrigerate, it'll become super hard).. A jar last us 2-3 weeks and I've never had a jar go bad.. 

I get my coconut at a subscription price from Amazon. Right now it's priced at $10.22 for four bags, so a jar of this is costing me about $2.55 and 10 minutes of my time.  The price of Coconut Mana and Coconut Butter sold online varies from $7.50 - $19.00 a jar right now, plus shipping, so that's quite a savings. Plus making your own means it's fresh, I know what's in it and I don't have to deal with the seperation process... 
I've been making my own for over almost 2 years now.
It's just so easy!!

There are a lot of benefits to Coconut.. Just do a search and you'll have all kinds of info up. 

I recently discovered the Wellness Mama blog
She has a list of 101 uses for Coconut Oil that's really interesting. 
She also has a wealth of information about healthy living in general... 
I'm impressed!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cleansing Conditioners like Wen

Cleansing Conditioners like Wen

Like most people, I've been intriqued by the Wen info commericals promising beautiful hair without shampooing.. I did some research on the product and found that some love it, some hate it, but most are very unhappy with the price. 

I went to their website to check out prices and found that the first shipment isn't that unreasonably priced.. But then I did a little search for customer feedback and found that most everyone ends up being very angry because when they purchased the reasonably priced started kit, they didn't realize they were agreeing to a automatic shipping program, where their credit cards were being charged about $40 a month. It seems people are having a heck of a time getting out of this situation, their accounts continue to be dinged even after multiple attempt to cancel. 

Wowsers! Thank goodness for customer feedback! I knew I didn't want to end up getting caught up in one of those deals, but did still want to try Wen.

My hair is very thick, curly, shoulder length and gray... The older I get, the dryer it gets. Curly hair is dryer than normal to begin with and as I age (I'm 60), it becomes dryer and dryer.. I also have a sensitive scalp and many shampoos make my head itch terribly. I had an allergic reaction to hair dye about 6 years ago and decided to go natural after that.. Since then, I've been using a lot of all natural shampoos and conditioners. Some are good, some not so good.. All are a little on the pricey side.. I thought if I'm going to spend more for shampoos, I might as well see if I can afford Wen.

So, with that in mind, I went to Amazon to see if they sell Wen without having to get caught up in a shipment program. They do sell it, but at $32 a bottle, not in my budget... 
I took the time to  read some feedback, and was pleased to discover there are alternative cleansing conditioners, and many reviewers preferred many of them to Wen.. 

Over the last 6 months or so, I've tried 7 different ones, from four different companies. I thought I'd write my experience with each, in case someone else is interested in cleansing conditioners but not sure where to start. 

First I tried 

Pantene's Cleansing Conditioners.


I was able to buy my first bottle from Walmart for about $5.  It's called 
I don't have colored hair, but they didn't have the Pro-V Damage Repair Cleansing Conditioner in stock, so I decided to give the Color Preserve a try. 
I was so pleasantly surprised! 
The product is very thick and creamy. I got my hair super wet, then aded 10 pumps of the Pantene to my palm, then started rubbing it through my hair, working it through to the ends.. I left it on my hair while I showered, then started rubbing it in to my scalp and throughout my hair. I discovered that adding just a little water created a really creamy product that felt very good on my hair.. It doesn't lather like shampoo, it just feels like a very thick, creamy conditioner.. I wasn't sure if it was cleaning my hair or not, but it did make my hair feel very sleek and smooth.. After rubbing it into my scalp and hair really well, I rinsed it.. It does take a bit to rinse it well, because it is so thick and creamy. 

It was easy to comb it out wet. It felt very smooth and silky. I only dry my bangs, then use a defusser to dry my hair a little bit, then let it air dry, as my curls get frizzy if I dry with it completely with a hair dryer. 

Both Pantenes have a very pleasant, clean scent that makes my hair smell good. 
After my hair was air dried,  it felt soft, my curls were good, and I was pleased. 
One bottle of the Pantene lasted over a month and seems like a great valu to me.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find that there was no itchy scalp, no problems at all..And my hair felt very clean! I now wash it every 3rd day, and it stays nice and fresh between cleansings.

I even found I was able to straighten my hair with a flat iron after a few weeks of using this prodcut and my hair stayed nice and smooth, which is unusual. 

I discovered that Amazon has a lot of cleansing conditioners offered as Add On items, priced between $4 and $7, so I decided to order a few of them to see how I liked them. 

I love the scent of this product. It's fresh and minty.. I was a little disappointed though, the first time I used it, as it's very runny. It's actually kind of hard to keep the product in your palm because it's so runny.. I ended up using about 15 pumps of the product, and adding more later on.. It just kind of mixes in with your hair and doesn't feel particularly creamy. In fact, it kind of feels like you aren't actually rubbing anything but water into your hair.. I did the same thing I do with the Pantene... I let it sit on my hair while I showered, then added a little water and rubbed it into my scalp down through the ends. 
It just didn't feel creamy at all. I kept adding more product thinking I just didn't have enough, but it never did feel like much of anything. 

I rinsed it out really hair felt kind of tangly, not smooth or silky, and I thought, this is the worse product ever. 
I applied a frizz ease product, then combed it out, which took a bit, then dried my bangs and defused the rest.. 
I was actually shocked because my hair did look smooth.. 
Despite my thinking it was the worse product ever, I continued to use it for weeks, and did feel my hair was looking healthier... 
Impressive, considering it really doesn't feel like it was doing much when cleansing my hair. 

I decided to try another, hoping it would give my hair the same healthy look, but be a thicker product. 

It's priced at $9 right now on Amazon, but I paid $10.99 for it, and at 12oz., it's the smallest of all the products I've tried. 
I'm sorry to say, I did not like this product at all. It made my head itch terribly, and I ended up with a flaky scalp. I have never had flakes before, so this was a bit shocking. 
Not to be someone who wants to jump to conclusions, I decided to make sure it was this cleanser, so I did give it a 2nd try later on, and sure enough, itchy, flaky scalp. 

I noticed Walmart had a Herbal Essence cleanser called 
Again, I don't have colored hair, but decided to give it a try. It was only about $5.

This product is thick, creamy, pretty pink and smells wonderful!! 
It's very much like the Pantene product and I have been happy with it. The only problem I have with it is that my hair has a more frizzy look after using it, even after using a frizz ease serum... I save this to use for days that are forcasted for rain and humidity since my hair will be frizzy no matter what product I use. lol.. I do really love the smell of this one and how thick and creamy it is.. 

Since I really liked the way my hair looks after using the Renpure products, I decided to give another one a try.

I looked on Amazon and found they have quite a few coconut products. I love the scent of coconut, so thought I'd give them a try. 
They have two cleansing products and I wasn't sure what the difference was, so I purchased both.. 

These products are called Renpure Coconut Cream Cowash and

I think these products are basically the same thing, only the pudding costs a bit more. The price seems to go up and down on Amazon. I paid $9.99 for the pudding and $7.99 for the Cowash.. I price right now is $7.99 for either.

Like the other Renpure product I used, I like the end results of these products, but they are also on the runny side and I have to use a lot of product with each cleansing. 

The Cowash has a light, fresh scent, while the Pudding has a bit of a spicy scent. I prefer the smell of the Cowash... 

The Pudding seems like it's may be just a bit thicker than the Cowash, but it's still runnier than the thick and creamy Panteen and Herbal Essence products. 

I washed my hair this morning with the Creme Pudding and I can still smell the spicy scent, which I really don't like... However, it is a clean scent and my hair feels very clean. 

Herbal Essence has another cleanser called 
Herbal Essence Naked Cleansing Conditioner
If I see it at the store, I'll be grabbing it to give it a try. 

For now, I'll be finishing off my Renpure products, but I won't be purchasing more.. 

Out of all the products I used, I have to say I think Pantene is my favorite. 
I'm glad I gave them all a try and for not a lot more than one bottle of Wen would cost, I got to experiment with quite a few. 

I do think the cleansing conditioners are better for my hair type.. Since my hair is dry, curly and thick, it feels much better conditioning my hair while cleaning it than using shampoos that strip my hair of it's natural oils, and then having to use conditioner like crazy to try to undo what the shampoo just did. 

If you've had any experience with cleansing conditioners, I'd love to hear what you think!