How I Like To Use My Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

Dr. B BottlesIf you’re into browsing the aisles of drugstores and groceries just for the heck of it, you’ve probably seen Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure-Castille Soaps before. They’re hard to miss — the bottle might be standard in shape, but the coloured labels are some of the busiest, most packed-with-text that you’ll ever see. In Manila they are available at Healthy Options (sad edit: Healthy Options no longer carries them! HUHU) and I definitely took a few minutes to just stand there and read a label one day. It was quite interesting.

There is a lot to say about the Magic Soaps (read about Dr. Bronner’s legacy, quality soaps, and ethical sourcing), but what most people know and see on the label is that they are multi-use (18-in-1!) liquid soaps that are highly concentrated and also biodegradable and nature-friendly. They are so highly concentrated that they are only a few percent away from being a solid. That makes them highly economical as one bottle can be divided, diluted with water, and used for different purposes.

The Magic Soaps do have a presence in the world of beauty, but mostly as a brush cleaner. I don’t particularly like using them to wash my brushes because I feel like they leave the bristles way too dried out, but I do love my Magic Soaps. Here are some of the ways I like to use them:

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1. As a foaming hand wash. I bought some foaming soap pumps from Muji, but I’m sure you can get them at other home stores too. I then took my Peppermint Magic Soap and diluted it with some mineral drinking water

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It’s A (3 Minute) Miracle! Pantene’s 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner

Pantene 3 Minute Miracle ConditionerThe beautiful bellas over at BDJBox.com were being their usual thoughtful selves and sent me a sample of Pantene’s new 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner* last week. I wasn’t expecting it at all, but that was fine because it was my favourite kind of surprise–the useful and well-timed kind. My hair always sucks after the holidays because of constant heat styling. It’s dry, dull, and sad. This miracle conditioner promises to “smoothen 3 months of damage in three minutes” — perfect! While I incurred my major hair damage over the span of just a month, I’d say this is just about as damaged as it gets in the year so it was the perfect time to test it out. P1170626I don’t think I had ever used a Pantene product before trying this one, and I must say I was impressed overall. The first thing I noticed was the super sweet strawberry scent–kind of like Skittles. If you like smelling of candy, you will adore this. I was impartial, although I must say that having sweaty hair in yoga is now not so unpleasant–it seems to release the scent even more, lol.

As for effectivity (the most important part), I give it 4/5 stars. My hair feels softer after just one use and it becomes especially shiny when I take the time to blow dry or flat iron it. I do have a problem with it being an everyday-use conditioner though, as I don’t think deep conditioning daily is healthy for your scalp. I think I’ll be using this not every day, but on nights when I know I have to look extra good the next day. This practically assures you a good hair day, and all girls know that a good hair day is like a magical, steroidal confidence-booster.

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My Favourite Hair Oils: Kérastase & L’Oreal (Plus one to avoid!)

It’s not often that I talk about hair products. I just… am not terribly interested in them. I do however recognise the value of a good haircut and the tremendous blessing that is a good hair day. That said, I do invest in my hair in certain ways. I might not curl my hair, style it with tons of product, or even colour it, but I do make it a point to do the following things:

  1. Remain faithful to my amazing stylist, Alex Carbonell.
  2. Use as little heat on my hair as possible even though I love straight-ironing with my GHD.
  3. Deep condition my hair once or twice a week.
  4. Use hair oils.

There was a time when I was on board the whole must-use-only-sulfate-free-shampoos-and-conditioners thing, but I have not been able to stick with it. I have been thinking about testing some more of those, but for now my deep conditioner and hair oils have been keeping me happy.
P1160440These are the two best hair oils I have ever tried: Kérastase Nutrtive Oléo-Relax (1,500.00 Php) and L’Oreal Mythic Oil (approx. 900.00 Php). Since L’Oreal owns Kérastase, these are essentially by/from the same company. I use them both in the same way: rubbed into my hands and then brushed through my hair with my fingers, from ear-length down. The Oléo-Relax is for dry and rebellious hair, while the Mythic Oil is for all hair types. They both work on my normal to dry hair and I pick which one to use based on how damaged and/or dry my hair is on a particular day.

I’ve had the Oléo-Relax for ages now and this happens to be my second bottle of the stuff. You can see that I’m nearly done with it and I will be repurchasing. As it’s meant for dry hair, it’s the heavier of the two oils. Still, it doesn’t leave the hair looking oily or feeling weighed down. My hair sops this up very quickly and I’m left with manageable and healthy-looking ends. One bottle lasts for about 6 months with daily use and I need one pump per day.

The Mythic Oil is new to me but already I’m wondering why I didn’t pick this up sooner. I got it for around 800Php in Singapore, but locally I believe it sells for 950-ish. That’s definitely more affordable than the 1,500 you have to drop for the Kérastase Oléo-Relax oil. Both bottles contain 125ml of product. The Miracle Oil is more lightweight because it’s geared toward normal hair types, but I don’t find that it makes the oil any less nourishing. It also has a different scent from the Oléo-Relax, which smells light and powdery. The Mythic Oil has a light floral fragrance. Both smell great to me and are not overwhelming on that front.

L’Oreal does another hair oil that I will warn you to steer clear of: 

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Healthy, Happy Hair with Human Nature

I think I’ve talked about going sulphate-free here before, but that was ages ago. I was using a brand from Healthy Options that was good at first but ended up irritating my scalp in the long run. Since then I lapsed back into using whatever shampoo and conditioner happened to be most convenient, whether sulfate-free or not. That is, until recently, when I was reminded of the Human Nature set of shampoo & conditioner that I had left sitting in my condo for guests to use. My cousins from the U.S. stayed over in December of last year and one of them loved the shampoo enough to ask where she could buy more. After they left, I thought I should try it out myself!
HHNcI started with the Clarifying Shampoo (149.75 Php for 200 mL) because I was in need of one. Technically, this isn’t sulfate-free, but the sulfate found in it is derived from natural ingredients. The website reads:

 Our breakthrough clarifying shampoo is our foamiest shampoo ever, yet it’s still 100% free from harmful SLS/SLES. We use coco fatty acid sulfates instead – natural sulfates that give you rich lather equal to the foaminess of SLS/SLES but are non-toxicfully biodegradable and proudly manufactured in the Philippines!

And it really does lather up just as much as a regular shampoo would! It also does not strip my hair dry while still getting all of the gunk out of there (from styling products). I use this once or twice a week, but it can actually be used daily because it is very mild. I just go for it when my hair starts to feel heavy. Right now I have the 200mL size but will probably get the big-ass 500 mL bottle next time.HHNsAfter trying the Clarifying Shampoo for a couple of weeks, I didn’t even want to wait until I was done with my regular shampoo and conditioner. I went out and got the Strengthening Shampoo (129.75 Php for 200mL) and Conditioner (144.74 Php for 200mL) in the “cool peppermint” variants right away! Unlike the clarifying shampoo, these don’t have any kind of sulfate whatsoever and after a couple of months of using this line my scalp feels so much healthier and comfortable. The strengthening line also comes in “soothing aloe” but the cooling effect of the peppermint variant is really great especially when you take a shower on a hot day!

Human Nature has never failed me, and I don’t know why it took me so long to think to try their shampoos, lol. If any of you are looking to go sulfate-free, try their line because (1) it works, (2) it’s affordable, and (3) Human Nature is an amazing brand with an amazing story. They have a Philippine website, a US website, and an international one, so do check them out no matter where you are from! They will ship to you. ;) In the Philippines, HHN is available at Rustan’s groceries and these independent stores (click).

For full ingredients lists, click through! 

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