12 November 2018

Morrocco Method: 5 Elements Shampoo + Diamond Crystal Mist

I've tried a lot of natural shampoos in my day, and Morrocco Method may just be the most unconventional one yet. And, I love it.  Morrocco Method products are plant-based, vegan, raw, paleo, non-GMO, soy- and gluten-free, and are handmade in the USA in small batches from natural and wildcrafted ingredients.   

The shampoo line was developed around the five elements: fire, earth, air, water, and ether.  Although each individual shampoo has a recommended hair type, the company suggests rotating between all five kinds for best results.  I was sent Morrocco Method's Travel Set of 5 Shampoos and I've been doing just that for the last few months. 

The Five Elements:

Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo (Fire Element) – The most clarifying of the five, for all hair and scalp types.  Raw apple cider vinegar helps balance the pH of the scalp, regulates oil production, and stimulates blood circulation to the scalp. 

Earth Essence Shampoo (Earth Element) Intended for normal to oily hair and scalp.  Natural clays remove excess oils from the hair and scalp.

Pine Shale Shampoo (Air Element) For normal to dry hair and scalp, dandruff, and scalp irritation.  Restorative pine shale oil, approved in Europe as an effective dandruff treatment, reduces inflammation, calms scalp irritation, and helps with flakes, itchiness, and dryness.  (Note: MM’s pine shale oil is sourced from reservoirs beneath the earth’s surface – extracted without fracking -- and is not the same thing as crude shale oil.)

Sea Essence Shampoo (Water Element) The most moisturizing of the five, for normal to dry hair and scalp.  Kelp, blue-green algae, and protein-rich spirulina offer hydration, repair brittle strands, and promote hair growth. 

Heavenly Essence Shampoo (Ether Element) For normal to damaged hair and scalp.  Hemp seed oil and prickly pear extract condition the hair and scalp, and help restore shine and luster to dry or damaged hair. 

All five shampoos have unique conditioning clay and aloe-based formulas that do not lather.  The five shampoos feel very similar while using them, but I notice a difference in my hair and scalp between the more moisturizing and clarifying versions after they're rinsed out.  

The scents, across the line, are generally very mild.  The two strongest are the Earth Essence, which smells lovely and earthy from a blend of patchouli, nutmeg, and other essential oils, and the Heavenly Essence, which smells predominantly of wintergreen to my nose.  There is an underlying apple cider vinegar note to all but the Heavenly Essence, but I don’t find that it, or any of the other scent components, linger in my hair after the shampoos are rinsed out. 

There are two main ways I like to use the shampoos:

I) The Official Morrocco Method Method
The company recommends diluting the shampoo in a separate bottle one-to-one with water, and shampooing twice – “once to cleanse and twice to nourish.”  The shampoos themselves have a thick, mud-like consistency, so diluting them definitely makes for easier distribution throughout the hair.  (It helps them go twice as far too, which is also nice!)  

With this method, I prefer the more clarifying varieties, Earth Essence and Apple Cider Vinegar, as they keep my scalp feeling clean the longest.  I can use this method exclusively for a few weeks, but I do find I need to incorporate a traditional lathering shampoo every so often to clarify and remove excess product buildup. 

II) In Combination with a Traditional Shampoo
The second technique, which I stumbled on by chance after forgetting to bring an extra bottle into the shower one day, involves combining one of the Morrocco Method shampoos with a more traditional, lathering shampoo.  I do a combination of 1/3 to 1/2 Morrocco Method (1/2 to 2/3 lathering shampoo), mixed together in the palm of my hand.  I get a bit of a squeakier clean with the lathering agent from the other shampoo, plus there’s no need to double shampoo or mix anything up in advance, so it’s a quicker process.  

I really adore this method -- the slight grittiness of the Morrocco Method shampoos does a fantastic job adding a little extra volume at the root, which is something I always struggle with, and I find I can go longer between washes than when I use the Morrocco Method shampoo on its own.  I don’t notice as big of a difference between the five kinds used this way and I enjoy them all pretty equally. 

After describing my hair, I was recommended the Diamond Crystal Mist, and was advised that it would likely offer enough moisture for me.  And, technically, it does.  The shampoos are fairly moisturizing themselves, so, with either technique, I was surprised to be able to get by just fine with just the leave-in.  That said, I do prefer a little more moisture, so usually I choose to incorporate a rinse-out conditioner as well.  (I’m curious to try one of Morrocco Method’s two rinse-out conditioners next time!)

But don’t worry, the Diamond Crystal Mist is not sitting on my shelf unloved.  It makes a great detangling spray and leave-in conditioner on freshly washed hair, and I also enjoy using it as a second-day curl refresher on dry hair.  

I get a little nervous whenever I see rose oil in an ingredients list, since it’s so often overwhelming to my nose, but the Diamond Crystal Mist, which also includes sandalwood, frankincense, and myrrh essential oils, has a mild scent that hasn’t been a problem for me at all.  In line with Morrocco Method’s ingredients philosophy, the spray contains no emulsifiers, so you do have to shake it before each use to re-blend the oil and water components. 

The Bottom Line
I’ve been really impressed with Morrocco Method’s hair products.  It took a few uses to get a perfect routine down, but I’m really happy with how the products work now.  These are not your standard shampoos, even compared to other natural brands, but they're excellent quality, offer great benefits for both scalp and hair health, and are definitely work taking the time to work with.  The Diamond Crystal Mist is a nice product too, although I prefer it as a last step, in combination with another rinse-out conditioner.  

 *Press Sample

5 November 2018

Active + Affordable Serums from Mad Hippie

The green beauty movement may have started as a somewhat grassroots community focused on basic, natural ingredients, but as popularity and demand have grown, I’ve noticed a definite shift towards an amalgamation of those original green beauty tenants and more scientific approaches and ingredients.  One thing I've been asked repeatedly is for product recommendation for affordable natural "active" skincare and with the slogan, "More Actives. More Results." and a price point that tops out at around $35 USD/$45 CAD, Mad Hippie Advanced Skin Care more than fits the bill. The company’s dual focus on safety and efficacy means that products are made with clean ingredients and are packed full of anti-aging actives that deliver proven results.  Each product is formulated to contain several active ingredients that complement one another and work together in synergy. 

I’ve best testing out Mad Hippie’s Vitamin C and Vitamin A Serums for the last few months and I’m finally ready to give my full take on these two products: feel, performance, and results.  Keep reading for all the details!

The Vitamin C Serum combines a skin-brightening blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid.  There’s been a considerable amount of research done on the compounding antioxidant effects of these three ingredients and you may recognize the trio from certain well-known mainstream products. 

For its vitamin C component, Mad Hippie’s serum uses sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable, water-soluble, and bioavailable form of vitamin C that has, in addition to standard vitamin C brightening and anti-aging properties, been linked to anti-acne benefits.   Mad Hippie’s serum also includes konjac root, rich in minerals and nutrients and known to promote softer, smoother skin, and hyaluronic acid, a potent humectant and skin hydrator. 

The Vitamin C Serum is a clear, lightweight serum that absorbs into the skin very quickly.  I noticed right away, after just a few days of use, that my skin looked brighter and felt better hydrated.  Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals and promotes collagen production, and with more prolonged use, I noticed my skin becoming smoother, softer, and more even to the touch.  I don’t have much discoloration or hyperpigmentation to target at this point, so I can’t speak to results in that area, but I like the serum and will continue to use it.  With clary sage, grapefruit, and chamomile, the serum has a floral/citrusy aroma.  I find the scent a little bit perfumey, but it doesn’t linger, so I have no real complaints.

I’ve been curious about the world of retinols since turning 30 earlier this year, but I’m still just dipping my toes in.  Mad Hippie’s Vitamin A Serum, which balances that retinol component with moisturizing and soothing ingredients, sounded perfect for a newbie like me.  The serum uses hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR), a newer form of vitamin A that works to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration, but isn’t as aggressive or irritating as other forms of vitamin A.   The Vitamin A Serum also includes a vegan phytoceramide to boost moisture retention, hyaluronic acid to plump the skin, and aloe vera and oat beta glucan to soothe and reduce surface inflammation.

The serum is white in colour and has a milky consistency.  It feels lovely and smooth on the skin, and is surprisingly moisturizing too.  Mad Hippie recommends waiting ten minutes between the Vitamin A Serum and any following products, and I definitely feel like I can use a lighter hand with my moisturizer or oil after using the Vitamin A Serum.  The serum, which includes sweet orange essential oil, smells like a blend of citrus and something more medicinal.  Again, the scent is non-obtrusive and doesn’t linger.
Retinoids promote natural cell turnover, so it’s not uncommon to experience a purging or flaking period when first starting out, but I experienced no breakouts, dryness, or irritation from the Vitamin A Serum.  As the directions suggest, I started out slowly, using just a few drops of the serum every second night, and gradually transitioned to using it a little more liberally every night.  I wake up with skin that’s hydrated, plump, and super smooth and even.  I’m aware that retinoids can take many months to show results, but I do think my fine lines already appear slightly softened.  I plan to continue to use this one too and will share another update in the future. 

The Bottom Line
I’ve enjoyed Mad Hippie’s products in the past and the Vitamin A and C Serums are no different!  The company pairs these two serums with their face cream (which I also really like!) as a skin firming routine for targeted firming and hydration, and I think the two serums really do make a wonderful day/night duo. 

Have you tried Mad Hippie?  What are your favorites from the line?

PR Sample
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