• So you think you know how to use a Shampoo Bar?

    Shampoo Bars are having a moment. There are brands that have been available for over 10 years and other options are popping up everywhere.  But did you know that a shampoo bar is a concentrated product?  You might not be using it properly.

    The physical bar form is familiar so most people treat a shampoo bar like a bar of soap. There are many differences between them,  but we're going to focus on one: detergency.  

    Detergency is an indicator of how powerful the product is.  For comparison: an "Everyday Shampoo" has a detergency of 7-10%, a "Regular Shampoo" has a detergency of 10-15%, and a "Clarifying Shampoo" has a detergency of 13-17%.  The detergency of these types of liquid shampoos will reflect how often you wash your hair, how much product you use in your hair, or how oily your hair is.  A shampoo bar has a detergency of 50-80%.  The Apothecuryous Nomad Shampoo Bar has a detergency of 61% for example.

    Detergency is achieved with a blend of surfactants, but liquid shampoo is mostly water.  It is harder to over-wash your hair with a liquid shampoo, generally speaking.  If you're not sure what it means to over-wash your hair, imagine your hair with numerous fly-aways, kind of floating away from your head.  That hair has been over-stripped of its beneficial oils.  Just to be clear, liquid shampoo allows for a wider variety of ingredients to be included in the formula, and thus imparts different qualities to the hair and scalp. 

    The appropriate way to use a shampoo bar is to either: generate a filmy lather by rubbing the bar between your hands and applying it to hair, or apply the bar directly to hair and run the bar along the length of it.  In order to avoid over-washing your hair, the single most important part is to remember that it's a concentrate.  It might not generate foam or large bubbles.  Remember : More is NOT Better. Be sure to allow the bar to dry between uses.

    Apothecuryous is thrilled to now offer the Nomad Conditioner Bar which pairs perfectly with the Nomad Shampoo Bar!  The conditioner is applied similarly as a shampoo bar.  Personally I apply the conditioner bar more liberally and leave on longer than the shampoo bar.

    Find these and other natural hair care products, formulated to the highest standards, at 

  • Shampoo Bars: not just soap by another name.

    Learn how a shampoo bar differs from soap, and how to make sure you are buying a properly formulated product.
  • How exactly is body care not vegan?

    Have you decided to move toward a plant based diet and are diligently reading the labels of the packaged food you buy?  Maybe you have been Vegan for some time now.  Good on ya!  But have you applied the same degree of scrutiny to your personal care products?  There are some ingredients that will stand out as animal derived, then others you might not expect.

    Body care products are required by law to have all ingredients listed in descending order, just like food.  Unlike food they are only required to include the Latin names of those ingredients, aka INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients).  Companies can choose to include the common name on the label along with the INCI name, but they don't have to.  This can be confusing to read and easy to give up on.

    If you do decide to dig in to label reading, what are you looking for on a personal care product?  The fastest and easiest indicator is the Certified Vegan symbol.  This takes out all the guess work and is easiest for the busy consumer.  On the other hand that symbol can only be used by companies who have had specific products evaluated, and have paid to put it on their label and in their marketing.  This expense can be financially burdensome to a small business, especially if they have numerous products to certify.

    The most certain way to avoid using non-vegan ingredients in your personal care products, is to read the labels, and familiarize yourself with what is animal derived. Many of the non-vegan ingredients INCI names are the same as their common names, like Goat Milk, Honey or Beeswax, but not all.  The following are ingredients found in various types of personal care products that would not be suitable for people adhering to a strict vegan lifestyle:

    • Lanolin is a wax that is secreted by wool bearing animals, like Sheep.  Lanolin can be collected without the loss of life for the sheep.
    • Tallow or Beef Tallow is rendered fat from a cow.
    • Similarly Lard is rendered fat from a pig.
    • Chitosan is a sugar derived from the exoskeletons of Shrimp, Lobster and Crabs.  It is used in skincare for acne prone skin, sunscreen, moisturizers, cleansers and more.
    • Egg can also be listed as Ovum.
    • Emu Oil is obtained from the meat of the Emu and can be found in soaps and moisturizers.
    • Honeyquat sounds like it could be plant based, but it is in fact derived from Honey.
    • Hydrolyzed Silk Protein or Silk Amino Acids are derived from Silk Worms and can be found in a wide variety of hair care products, as well as some skin care products like moisturizers.
    • Mink Oil is derived from rendering fats from pelts destined for the fur industry.
    • Squalene is Shark Liver Oil, while Squalane is from Olives.  The devil is in the details with this one.
    • Beeswax, Butter, Buttermilk, Buttermilk Powder, Goat Milk, Goat Butter, and Honey, Milk, Dry Milk all have the same common name as INCI name.

    There are also some products that can be a bit misleading.  For example, lecithin is a generic term that refers to yellowish brownish fats found in animal or plant matter. Generally speaking Lecithin has the potential to be animal derived, however it is typically Soy derived for use in the body care industry.

    Urea is found in urine as well as sweat and is used in products that address Psoriasis and Dermatitis.  Don't worry, in the body care industry Urea is synthetically produced in the lab.  I have no reason to believe this wouldn't be vegan, but if this knowledge has brought up some trust issues, maybe you should avoid it. 

    The moral of the story is to be diligent and always read labels on products to be sure you aren't getting something you won't use.  Apothecuryous is committed to  formulating all new products to a Vegan standard, and will revisit the few older products that include Beeswax or Honey. Apothecuryous also chooses to list the common names of ingredients, along with the legally required INCI name on its product labels. 

    This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of non-vegan materials in personal care products.

  • Honey Do!

    Honey is more than the delicious nectar of the gods to add to tea or smear on toast, it has wonderful benefits for the skin as well!

    Vitamin and mineral rich, honey even contains amino acids, enzymes, and proteins.  Honey can be beneficial for all skin types and has numerous qualities that improve the appearance of skin and strengthen its barrier function.

    Honey has been used topically to improve the skin's appearance for centuries.  Cleopatra, Hippocrates and Nefertiti regularly used honey to improve the quality of the skin or reduce scars.

    Honey is an anti-oxidant which fends off free radicals and helps to slow the signs of aging. Free radicals are abundant in our modern world and we encounter them through environmental pollutants, industrial chemicals, and exposure to ultraviolet rays.  Just taking a walk down a street with traffic going by introduces free radicals into your system.

    Honey is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-septic all of which contribute to its ability to clean pores.  Acne and blackheads are often a result of bacteria paired with dirt residing in the pores and blocking the skin's normal secretion of sweat or sebum. Since honey is such a powerful anti-bacterial substance it is able to dislodge the bacteria and clear the pores, leaving you with a radiant complexion.

    Honey is a humectant, which means that it attracts moisture from the air and retains it on the skin.  Applying honey to the face is a wonderful way to moisturize your skin and achieve a glowing appearance. Applying honey to the skin increases elasticity and makes the skin look more youthful.  Application of honey also reduces the appearance of scars.

    The Honey Moisturizing Mask & Cleanser from Apothecuryous contains raw organic honey, organic sunflower seed oil, organic beeswax and Vitamin E.  The addition of the sunflower oil reduces the sticky-ness of honey and beeswax makes the mixture easier to handle.  

    Sunflower seed oil protects elastin and collagen, reduces redness and will not clog the pores.  For this reason it can be used by all skin types.

    Beeswax itself is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory.  It is also an occlusive which means that it creates a protective barrier on the skin (while still allowing your skin to breath) that reduces moisture loss and enhances the skin's barrier function.

    Because these potent ingredients have so many healing attributes this cleanser can also be used on problematic areas.  Consider using the Honey Moisturizing Mask & Cleanser as a spot treatment for eczema or psoriasis, or for cracked or broken skin on elbows, feet or hands.

    While Apothecuryous strives to make as many vegan products as possible, the benefits of honey are too numerous to pass up.

  • The many benefits of Witch Hazel

    You may be familiar with Witch Hazel or you may not.  In this article we are going to explore some of the many uses of Witch Hazel and why it should be in everyone's bathroom cabinet.

    First a little background.  Witch Hazel is an extract sourced from the leaves and bark of a North American deciduous shrub (Hamamelis Virginiana), often distilled and preserved with alcohol.  Witch Hazel contains tannins which help reduce swelling, fight bacteria, and remove excess oils from the skin.  This astringent property makes Witch Hazel a great natural solution for people who are battling acne.

    Witch Hazel has many applications and can be used to topically to tighten pores, reduce inflammation, calm the irritation of bug bites, soothe sun burnt skin, or used as an aftershave, among other things.

    Using Witch Hazel on your face after washing will remove any residual makeup, or environmental grime encountered during the day.  If you are someone who wakes up with puffy eyes in the morning, be sure to get as close to your eye as possible (without getting it in your eye) when using Witch Hazel at night.  This practice will help to reduce the puffiness you experience in the morning.

    Because Witch Hazel has astringent properties it can be used to reduce hemorrhoids (yes I just went there).  Unfortunately most people have had hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.  They are common for pregnant women or people who have insufficient fruits and vegetables in their diets.  Even if neither of those apply to you, its possible you can have that uncomfortable experience anyway due to genetics.  Not to worry!  Simply apply Witch Hazel to a cotton ball and dab the effected area.  Witch Hazel is safe to use on mucus membranes and will cool and reduce the inflammation quickly.  Alright, enough of that...

    If you are a mosquito magnet and end up with some maddening bug bites after your outing to the lake, the game, or picnic, simply apply Witch Hazel to the bites and let the Witch Hazel calm the itchy burning skin.  Reapply as needed.  Similarly Witch Hazel can be used on Poison Ivy or Poison Oak rashes or Chicken Pox blisters.  The cooling effect of the Witch Hazel will reduce the burning of the skin and provide some relief to the person effected. If only I'd known this when I got Chicken Pox the second time in Middle School! (It is possible to get Chicken Pox more than once if the first case wasn't severe enough to develop resistance to future exposure.)

    Once I was selling at an event and a woman, who was also a vendor, approached me and asked if I had anything for bug bites.  Her teen-aged daughter was helping her and had played in a marching band at a game the night before.  She had been seriously snacked on by mosquitoes and the woman was desperate to find something to bring her daughter relief.  I suggested the Witch Hazel, which she bought without blinking.  The next day she found my booth before the event opened, and told me how well it worked.  Her daughter was grateful, and I could see that the woman was as well, not to have to endure 8 eight hours with a miserable and itchy teenage girl.

    Witch Hazel can also be used to prevent ingrown hairs and reduce razor burn.  This is why it is used as an aftershave.  Using Witch Hazel after shaving will also slow bleeding from any nicks from the razor.  Witch Hazel can also be used after getting an area of the body waxed to reduce inflammation, clean the pores, and reduce the chance of developing ingrown hairs.

    If you get a sunburn apply Witch Hazel to the affected area and allow to air dry.  Witch Hazel will cool the skin, reduce inflammation, and condition and moisturize the skin so that it may heal.

    As you can see there are numerous uses for Witch Hazel, and this is by no means an exhaustive list.  There are internal uses for Witch Hazel as well, but I encourage you to search for an unscented option if you are looking to use it that way. Always be sure to bring Witch Hazel with you when you travel because as you can see there are so many uses for it, you won't want to be without it!  I hope you learned something and found the information useful.





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