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24 April 2014

Which is Better for Hair: Lemon Juice or Vinegar?

In the three years that I've been no-pooing it was a habit of mine to replace hair conditioner with apple cider vinegar. I knew that some people used lemon juice instead of vinegar but because vinegar gave me great results I never tried lemon.

A few days ago Kanelstrand reader +glittermoongdes asked me to test the pH of lemon juice and see if it can safely be used instead of vinegar.

Which reminds me, if you still haven't read my post about how baking soda destroyed my hair, please do so.

And if you are doing the same to your hair, you are killing it slowly. Stop immediately.

Why pH matters?

Hair and skin are covered by a very thin fluid layer comprised of oil, salt and water, called the mantle, which is slightly acidic and has a pH balance of between 4.5 - 5.0.

This natural acidity of the hair and scalp prevents fungi and bacteria, and keeps the cuticle closed and healthy. If your haircare routine is too alkali your hair cuticles will stay open and your hair will be dry and brittle. But if you use pH balanced products, i.e. ones that are close to the natural pH of the hair (4.5 - 5.0) your hair cuticles will close properly which will result in healthy shiny hair.

But what's the case with vinegar/lemon juice? 

After an extensive research I am positive that vinegar and lemon juice are used interchangeably, and mostly depending on personal preference.

Both vinegar and lemon have long been used to make hair silky and lustrous. They work to restore luster by removing build up from other hair products. The acidity of vinegar and lemon juice leaves hair smooth and silky and detangles your hair. They fight dandruff and improve scalp health. They also stimulate the scalp and promote hair growth. Depending on your hair type, you may want to use a vinegar/lemon rinse once a week, or as often as three times a week.

Before I continue with the actual measuring of the pH let me explain that vinegar (as well as lemon juice) is a dilute acid that can be made more dilute using water, it can be neutralized using a base, but it cannot be made into a base. The term "pH" stands for "potential hydrogen" -- which means that the more free-floating hydrogen ions in a solution, the more acidic the solution is. Vinegar's pH will always remain at a number lower than neutral, no matter how dilute it is, because vinegar is an acid (source).

Pure apple cider vinegar has a pH 2.

pH of pure apple cider vinegar

Here is the pH of 2 tbsp vinegar diluted in a cup (250ml) tap water.

Pure lemon juice:

2 tbsp lemon juice diluted in a cup (250ml) tap water is slightly more acidic than 2 tbsp of vinegar diluted in a cup of water.

But when you dilute 2 tsp of lemon juice in 2 cups of water you get a pH of about 3.5 - 4.

Edit: If you insist on getting the pH of your lemon juice rinse to 4.0 you can dilute 1 tsp lemon juice in 450ml tap water, which is roughly 1 3/4 cup.

In conclusion

The reason for using an acidic hair rinse is that it helps our cuticle scales to lie as flat as they can so they won't be torn off or won't allow stuff to pass into our hair shaft. In that sense, a vinegar or lemon juice rinse works toxic-free magic for a considerably less amount of money than the conditioner you can buy.

As you can see from the pH tests, lemon juice is a tiny bit more acidic than vinegar,  but it has the same qualities. There is no documented danger of using it as a hair rinse.

One thing worth noting is that lemon juice will lighten your hair. So if you don't want that you should avoid it.

If you dislike the smell of vinegar, I have a solution for you!

Add some dried rosemary or rosemary essential oil to the bottle of vinegar that you're using and the smell will be gone. (thanks to Beth Terry for this tip)

Have you tried rinsing your hair with lemon juice or vinegar? What's your experience?


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19 April 2014

Simple Living Rabbit: The Yawn

Does he get tired running in the garden? You bet! A yawn from Muffin Rabbit on a lazy sunny Saturday.

Read more about the adventures of Muffin, the simple living rabbit.


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14 April 2014

On Crafting and Blogging with Alycia of Habitual Homebody

When I started this blog 4 years ago, I thought that giving back to the handmade community was the tiniest of things I could do to repay for what I learned (and keep on learning to this day).

That is why, after a few months' rest I am reviving the all-time favorite interview series featuring amazing artists from the virtual indie handmade world.

So today, I'd like you to meet Alycia of Habitual Homebody. I met her virtually in the very beginning of my blogging life and I kept on following her musings, travels and crafting in the years that followed. I love her creativity and the strength with which she copes with life's challenges. There is much to learn from this young lady and her determination. Read on.

Give us some background about yourself. Describe yourself and what you do.
Hi! I'm Alycia and I'm currently living in Pennsylvania with my husband and our two dogs Monty and Mabel. We are about to move to Colorado this summer though (where there are SO many yarn shops!). I do office work, but in my free time, I'm a crocheter and blogger. I've been crocheting for 2 years and blogging for 5 years.

How did you start crafting? Do you stick to only one craft?
I've always been into crafts since I was a kid. My mom is a seamstress, quilter, and crocheter so I was always around creativity as a kid growing up and encouraged to create. And her mother, my grandmother, enjoyed sewing and crocheting too. I like to play around with different types of crafts and keep my eyes open for pretty projects or DIYs that catch my eye, but right now I'm big into crochet.

Why are you passionate about handmade?
I love making something out of nothing. And the process of planning a project, finding the supplies I need, and working on it from start to finish is so entirely satisfying. It also gives my mind a rest from all the everyday worries when I have something fun to focus on. Handmade items are so personal and lovely. I especially love the online handmade community too.

How and where do you sell your products?
Currently I do not sell any of my products as I don't have the time to commit, but I used to sell on Etsy. I'd love to reopen my Etsy shop once things settle down (we are in the process of a big move) and sell some of my crochet wares!

How much influence do you get by the Internet in your creativity?
I get SO much inspiration from the Internet it's crazy and I love it! My main sources of inspiration are Pinterest and Ravelry. I find all the patterns for my crochet projects online, mostly for free through Ravelry, but I'll also peruse Etsy. I follow a lot of crafty blogs so I'll find patterns and project ideas that way too. I'm finally starting to feel confident enough in my crochet work to make a few of my own patterns too.

Why do you blog? What does blogging give you that crafting doesn't?
Blogging gives me the platform to share my projects and inspire others to create. I love interacting with like minded people and sharing about life with others who have similar interests as me.

What does "being creative" mean to you?
To me, being creative means expressing yourself in a way that gives you fulfillment and satisfaction while not being afraid to try something new. Finding inspiration in the smallest of things is all it takes to make creativity happen.

What advice do you have for people wanting to start crocheting?
What worked for me was watching video tutorials on YouTube. For whatever reason, I just couldn't grasp how to crochet when my mom tried to teach me (go figure!), but when I had access to video tutorials it was as easy as pressing pause or rewind to really understand what I needed to do. I have also made a few of my own video tutorials for beginners.

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? Share it with us.
I found this quote on Pinterest and it's always made me smile because it's so true!

"The creative adult is the child who survived."
Which then reminded me of this quote:
"Stop pinning and make things."

Here is where you can find Alycia:
Blog - Instagram - Twitter - Pinterest - Ravelry 


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12 April 2014

Simple Living Rabbit: Spring Flowers

On a sunny spring day Muffin Rabbit is outside with us. I think he's missed all the nature smells and you can tell when you see him around the snowdrops and the crocuses.

Read more about the adventures of Muffin, the simple living rabbit.


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