Pure Argan Oil and its Benefits

Argan oil is one of the key ingredients of the Mein Herr Beard Oil range. Our original beard oil recipe contained only Jojoba oil and Peach Kernel oil as its carrier oils. This seemed to be a winning combination, but when we added Argan it produced a beard oil that had the benefit of being slightly heavier while also possessing all of the amazing properties of Argan to nourish the beard and skin. We have recently sourced 100% pure Argan oil which has stepped the product up another notch.

Origin of Argan oil

Argan oil is extracted from the kernels of the fruit of the Argan tree, native to Morocco. The kernels are removed from the fruit by cracking its thick-shelled nut by hand as mechanical methods have not been found to be successful. Each nut contains between one and three kernels. The kernels are then crushed and pressed to extract the oil which is allowed to stand before the natural sediment can be filtered out.

This process is time consuming and labour intensive which leads to the oil being expensive. As a result most products containing Argan oil make use of oil that is not 100% pure to reduce costs. Since we strive to produce high-quality products with pure natural ingredients, it was of great concern when we discovered that we had been using an oil that was only 80% Argan. The Argan oil that is now used in the Mein Herr Beard Oils is 100% pure Argan oil sourced directly from Morocco.  Argan oil

Why is Argan oil so special?

Argan oil is rich in Vitamins E and A which contain important antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage.

It is made up of a high percentage of Oleic acid (omega 9) and Linoleic acid (omega 6). Both these fatty acids are essential to the hair and skin.   They keep the hair hydrated as they prevent water loss.

Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid (EFA). This means that it is vital for the growth and regeneration of healthy cells, but the body is not able to synthesise it. Linoleic acid keeps the hair shiny and strong. It also stimulates hair growth. For skin care, it has anti-inflammatory, moisturising and healing properties. This makes it ideal for treating various skin conditions and speeding up the healing of scars. It easily penetrates the skin carrying with it other beneficial ingredients like antioxidants. Linoleic acid also helps to restore the fluidity of sebum in acne sufferers. In fact Argan oil is considered non-comedogenic which means that it does not block pores.

Argan oil also contains high levels of squalene. This oily liquid is easily and rapidly absorbed into the skin and hair. Being non-irritant, it is great to use on sensitive skin. It is an anti-oxidant and protects against UV damage. It also promotes cell growth.

This is merely a glimpse into the amazing benefits of Argan oil for both your hair and your skin. It is clear why we have chosen to include it in our beard oils.

 

 

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Caring for your Badger-Hair Shaving Brush

If you are wanting to remove all or even just part of your facial hair, then wet shaving is tShaving brushhe best option for you as it is least harsh on your skin. When using a natural soap like the Mein Herr Shaving Bar Soap for wet shaving, it is essential to lather up with a good-quality shaving brush. We provide a badger-hair shaving brush as part of all our shaving kits. Badger hair is superior for this purpose because it is particularly absorbent and lathers up well. It is also hard-wearing so if you care for your shaving brush properly it should last you for a good number of years.

Wash your shaving brush before initial use

A new shaving brush should be washed gently, but thoroughly in warm soapy water before you use it for the first time. You may find that some loose hairs come out of the brush. This is normal. These are shorter hairs that did not get firmly stuck in the glue base.

Allow your shaving brush to dry completely

It is important to allow your shaving brush to dry completely before you store it. Since it is made from a natural material it will become mouldy if left damp. The best way to dry your brush is hanging upside down as the water can then drip down and away from the brush. If it dries standing upright the water soaks down into the handle of the brush and could soften the glue so that the bristles are released. A brush stand is ideal for this purpose.

How to use your shaving brush

Before use, wet your shaving brush thoroughly in warm water. Then rub the tips of the bristles over the surface of your shaving soap. Lather up in your shaving bowl or in the palm of your hand using gentle circular motiShaving Brushons. Avoid applying too much pressure. The bristles should not splay.

The problem with applying excessive pressure when lathering up is that the inner core of the brush gets crushed.  The bristles twist, especially in the centre core of the knot, causing them to break off. Also, the full brush loft should be utilised to lather up. If the brush is pressed down aggressively the outer bristles spread and shafts of the inner bristles are then used rather than the tips.

When applying the lather to your face, it is preferable to use back-and-forth motions as this is less damaging to the bristles, although circular motions are also acceptable. Remember that even a light pressure will be enough to gently exfoliate and lift your whiskers allowing a close shave.

Clean and dry your shaving brush

After use rinse thoroughly in warm water. Be sure to remove all soap scum as this too could deteriorate the hair. Allow the brush to dry thoroughly as after the initial wash. Then gently press the bristles together with your fingers to reform the shape of the brush. You could also run a comb through the brush to straighten any bristles that may have got kinked or twisted during shaving.

Where to store your shaving brush

Always store your shaving brush in a place where it can air. If you have to put it in a closed container when travelling, be sure to take it out to air as soon as possible to reduce the chance of developing mildew.

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Make your own Natural Tooth Powder

A number of people have been asking us about a natural tooth paste. We do not claim to be experts in the field of dental care, but we thought it would be worth while to share the recipe we have put together for ourselves. It’s quite simple to throw together and you should be able to buy all the ingredients from a pharmacy or health shop.

A little background information…

Our aim as a family is to avoid using chemicals as far as possible as we know their effects are detrimental to the health of our bodies. There is plenty of reading online about why you should avoid using commercial tooth paste. I am not going to go into all that here, but do yourself a favour and research it a bit.

About a year ago we started trying to make our own natural tooth paste. The first step was a coconut oil based paste. We tried various recipes but were not impressed with the results at all. It didn’t seem to be getting the job done efficiently.

We eventually gave in and went to buy ourselves a natural tooth paste from our local health shop. I wasn’t happy with all the ingredients that they had added, but I figured it was probably better than using the chemically-based alternative. Within a couple of weeks we were battling with sores in our mouths and our teeth were hyper-sensitive. Needless to say that the tubes were tossed in the trash.

I had read from various sources that tooth powder works better than tooth paste for many people. The concept was a bit foreign so I had never given it a thought. But by this stage we were getting rather desperate. I found a decent recipe online and adjusted it to suit our requirements based on the research I had done.

To begin with it was strange using a powder rather than a paste on our tooth brushes, but we soon figured it all out. We have been using the same basic recipe for at least six months now and it is working extremely well for us.

A word about the ingredients…

We have omitted baking soda (bicarb) which is the primary ingredient in most natural tooth pastes and tooth powders because we find it too abrasive. Some recipes also include sea salt, but we have left this out for the same reason.

Bentonite clay is the basic ingredient in our recipe. This clay readily absorbs water becoming porous. It then draws heavy metals and toxins towards itself removing them from your teeth. The clay is also rich in minerals which feed your teeth.

Calcium is added to remineralise the teeth. Xylitol gives the tooth powder a pleasant sweet taste, and at the same time helps to kill of the bacteria that cause plaque and tooth decay. Activated charcoal absorbs toxins.

There are many different essential oils that are great for caring for your teeth and gums. We have settled on Spearmint because it is refreshing and the kids like the taste!

Tooth powder recipeTooth powder

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbs Bentonite clay
  • 2 – 4 Tbs Calcium powder
  • 1/2 Tbs Xylitol
  • 1 tsp Activated Charcoal
  • 10 – 15 drops Spearmint essential oil

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl. Mix thoroughly with a plastic spoon. Do not use a metal bowl or metal implements when working with Bentonite clay.

To use, wet your tooth brush and dip it in the powder. Then brush your teeth as usual. We have found it helps to wet the powder slightly once it is on the brush as well.

 

 

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Wet Shaving: for Real Men

Why wet shaving is the better option

Back in the day wet shaving with a straight blade or safety razor was the norm for men who didn’t sport a full beard. But, as with many other good things, the commercial sector took over and managed to convince the greater population that shaving with a multiple-blade razor was the way to go. At first double-blade razors flooded the market. Then men were coerced into upgrading to a triple-blade option. Now you are not with it if you don’t use a five-blade razor.

The thinking behind a multiple-blade razor is that the first blade will catch the hair and pull it up so that the second blade can cut it off really close to the skin. This sounds reasonable until you realise that what is actually happening is that the hair gets cut off below skin level. The result: ingrown hairs and razor bumps. The concept doesn’t sound so fabulous when you look at it that way, does it?

Traditional wet shaving is definitely the better option as it is ultimately less damaging to your skin. Shaving with an unprotected blade may seem a bit daunting at first, but once you have got the hang of it you will never turn back. So if you are a real man that wants to leave home looking and feeling like a prince, put effort into your grooming routine. It’s well worth it!

Steps in the wet shaving routine

The process involved in wet shaving is more laborious than simply using a multiple-blade razor, but the result is much more satisfying. And your skin will benefit from the extra attention. You only have one face afterall!

Wet your face

Before you start, make sure that your face is warm and damp. The facial hair will absorb water making it softer and easier to cut. It is best to shave after showering. Alternatively you can wet your face and then apply a warm wet cloth to moisten the hair.

Apply pre-shave oil

Pre-shave oilThe next step is to apply Mein Herr Pre-Shave Oil. The purpose of this oil is to soften those whiskers and moisturise your skin while providing a protective layer preventing razor burn or irritation. Squirt a few drops of oil into the palm of your hand. Pat your hands together and then gently massage the oil across the entire shaving area to form a thin layer. Wait for about a minute before applying your shaving soap lather. You can use this time to wash the remaining oil off your hands.

Lather up with your shaving brush

Now wet your shaving brush with warm (not hot) water and shake off any excess water. It is essential to use a shaving brush for a number of reasons: it helps to create a rich, creamy lather; it lifts the hair allowing a closer shave; and it exfoliates reducing the risk of razor bumps and leaving the skin feeling softer and smoother.

Shaving Brush

Rub the tip of the bristles in a circular motion over your Mein Herr Shaving Soap and then lather it up in your shaving bowl. Just a small amount of soap should be enough to create a good amount of lather for the complete shave. So your shaving bar should last a long time. If you still have lots of lather left in your brush when you are done you know you have used too much soap.

Once you have a thick lather, apply to your face using gentle back and forth motions. A badger hair shaving brush (available as part of our Shaving Brush Set) is ideal for this purpose due to its ability to absorb water. And if you look after it properly it will serve you for many years.

Use your safety razor correctly

Now you are ready to pick up the razor. Always use a sharp blade. For the first pass shave in the direction of the hair growth – with the grain. Shaving against the grain will provide a close shave more quickly, but also causes skin irritation. If you are unsure of the direction of your beard growth, allow it to grow for a couple of days to check.

Your razor should be at about a 30-degree angle (that is, the handle should be about 30-degrees to the horizontal). This will allow the edge of the blade to just touch your skin. Use short strokes and avoid pressing the blade into your skin. Let your razor do the work. The key to a good wet shave is patience not pressure.

First shave the sides, then your upper lip and finally the chin area as this hair is tougher and benefits from a longer soak to soften. Rinse your razor blade in warm water regularly while shaving. Only shave where there is lather. If you miss a spot leave it for the next pass.

Then apply more later from you brush to prep your face for the second pass. This time you can shave across the grain – not against the grain. For a closer shave you may want to go for a third pass – this time against the grain. Simply re-apply lather from your brush. Avoid over shaving as this too will cause skin irritation. When you are done, rinse your blade thoroughly in warm water and shake dry. Do not wipe with a towel or tissue paper as this will shorten the life of the blade.

Toning After-shave

Complete with aftershave

Wash your face with warm water and then rinse with cold water. Pat dry with a towel. Then apply Mein Herr Toning Aftershave. This will sooth and hydrate the skin. Its ingredients also have healing and astringent properties which are particularly beneficial after shaving.

All products mentioned above are available from our shop.

 

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Coconut Oil in Soap

Coconut oil has become very popular as a skin moisturiser. However, when saponified (that is, turned into soap) it could have the opposite effect due to its excellent grease-cutting capability.

Coconut oil in hair and body soaps

Saponified coconut oil is very cleansing. It is very hard and also produces lovely bubbles. As such it is a basic ingredient in all our soaps. But the Mein Herr natural soaps for hair and body contain only a small quantity of coconut oil. A soap that has a high percentage of coconut oil can dehydrate the skin as it strips it of the natural skin oils.

Coconut oil in household cleaning soaps

We have harnessed the grease-cutting abilities of coconut oil in the Mein Herr natural household cleaning range. There are currently two household cleaning bar soaps available on our website: the Mein Herr All Purpose Cleaning Bar Soap and the Mein Herr Pure Coconut Oil Bar Soap which is used to make Mein Herr Laundry Soap Powder.

household

Mein Herr Household Products

Mein Herr All Purpose Cleaning Bar Soap contains a high percentage of coconut oil along with other more moisturising oils which make it less harsh on the skin. It can be used to wash oily dishes, countertops and other household surfaces or even to hand-wash laundry. It can also be used to remove tougher dirt from your hands if you enjoy working in the garden or in your garage. This soap is made from natural ingredients with no added harmful chemicals (Why natural soap?). However, due to the dehydrating effects of saponified coconut oil it may be advisable to apply a moisturising oil on your hands after using this soap.

Mein Herr Laundry Soap Powder is a borax-free natural laundry detergent that can be used in an automatic washing machine. It is made, very simply, from a combination of finely grated Mein Herr Pure Coconut Oil Bar Soap and Soda Ash with Lemon and Lavender essential oils for fragrance. Saponified coconut oil is very hard, so this soap powder works best in a warm to hot wash. Alternatively you can first dissolve the powder in warm water and then add it to your load. For tougher stains the Mein Herr Laundry Soap Powder can also be used as a soak before washing in the machine. We have personally found that the cleaning power of this soap is phenomenal. And the best part is that it is completely natural.

Because the recipe for Mein Herr Laundry Soap Powder is so easy, we have decided to make it possible for you to make your own. You can now buy the Mein Herr Coconut Oil Bar Soap, grate it yourself and add the Soda Ash (available from the pool section of your grocery store) and your choice of essential oils. The recipe, with quantities, is included in the packaging of the bar soap.

The Mein Herr Olive Oil Bar Soap can also be grated and added to a sink of warm water for washing dishes. Since it contains no moisturising oils it does the job really well. Just be aware that it is quite harsh on the skin, so it would be ideal to use dish-washing gloves.

All these household cleaning products are very alkaline. It is therefore recommended that you add vinegar to your rinsing water. This will remove any soap residue and also neutralise the pH.

End Stach

The Wonders of Jojoba Oil

The Wonders of Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is a liquid wax extracted from the seed of the Jojoba plant. It made its appearance onto the cosmetic scene as a substitute for whale blubber since it is so similar to sebum, the body’s natural skin oil. It can be used to supplement sebum or to reduce the effects of excessive sebum excretion. As such it is fantastic for both skin and hair care.

Skin care

Jojoba oil is easily absorbed into the skin providing long-lasting hydration. Being a balancing oil, it can be used on all skin types and will not leave the skin feeling oily or greasy. It contains many nutrients, notably vitamin E, vitamin B complex and zinc. Jojoba oil has been found to reduce wrinkles and stretch marks, and even helps in the healing of scars.

Having anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, Jojoba oil can be used to alleviate the effects of various skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for treating eczema. It can even be used to sooth sun burn and resuce pealing of burnt skin.

Hair care

Jojoba oil is also very good for hair care. It can be used to treat dry or damaged hair, and to reduce tangling. Jojoba oil also stimulates healthy hair growth as it unblocks the hair follicles encouraging growth of new hair cells.

The amazing properties of this wonderful oil have made it a favourite ingredient in many of the Mein Herr products including our shampoos, beard and body oils, and even our bath salts.

 

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Vinegar: The Vital Companion

Vinegar: The Vital Companion

Vinegar is one of the most widely used natural products when it comes to cleaning. It is a great disinfectant, especially when combined with certain essential oils, and it is very versatile. For household cleaning we use spirit vinegar for everything from washing floors to cleaning toilets. Apple cider vinegar is very beneficial for basic skincare and can even be used to eliminate body odour.

But vinegar plays another important role in the natural cleaning process.

Natural soaps are by nature very alkaline. Thus, when washing with natural soap it is preferable to normalise the pH using something acidic. This is where vinegar comes into play.

Vinegar as natural hair conditioner

When you wash your hair with a natural soap (see our range here) you should always rinse with a dilute apple cider vinegar solution. The vinegar normalises the pH of your hair leaapple cider vinegarving it feeling soft and silky. At the same time it relieves a dry or itchy scalp and stimulates healthy hair growth. Vinegar also helps to rid your hair of the excess soap residue left by commercial shampoos and conditioners when you are switching to natural shampoo. We discuss this in more detail in another post.

Unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains a cloudy sediment call the “mother of vinegar”. This if full of nutrients making it the most beneficial choice for conditioning your hair and caring for your scalp.

Vinegar as laundry softener

spirit vinegarMein Herr Natural Laundry Detergent is made from a combination of natural soap and washing soda resulting in a very alkaline mixture that works well to clean laundry. Adding vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine neutralises the pH so that your laundry feels soft. It also helps to remove any excess soap residue from the laundry. As with all our household cleaning, we use spirit vinegar as fabriVinegarc softener.

 Vinegar for countertops

The Mein Herr All-Purpose Cleaning Bar Soap works very well for cleaning any spills or stubborn dirt from the stove or countertops.  We have found that spritzing with spirit vinegar before the final wipe, leaves the surface sparkling.

 

All-in-all, if you are wanting to create a chemical-free environment in your home, vinegar is a vital companion when it comes to cleaning.

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Why Natural Soap?

Why Natural Soap?

Natural soap is growing in popularity, but is it just a fad or a subconscious desire to return to the age of tie-dye and bellbottoms? It turns out, using Natural soap is not merely a fashion statement, but a wise life choice.

Why not commercial soap?

Commercially-sold cleansers, including common soaps and ‘syndets’ (synthetic detergents), have complex compositions of emollients (moisturisers), preservatives, fragrances, lather enhancers, chelating agents and, worst of all, surface-active substances (surfactants). Surfactants work by lowering the surface tension on the skin and removing dirt in an emulsified form. In short they strip the skin of its natural oils. Surfactants also induce irritant dermatitis. Some examples of surfactants that occur in commercial soap are sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and dodecyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (DTAB). It may be cheeper to use commercial soaps, but the effect on your skin and hair is damaging.

What is more, the damaging effects stretch beyond the health of your skin and hair. Many of the chemicals listed in the ingredients of commercial soaps are known carcinogens. They are absorbed through your skin and reek havoc in your body. The article 10 Toxic Beauty Ingredients to Avoid is a really worthwhile read in this regard.

What makes natural soap the better choice?

natural soapNatural soap has a much simpler composition. Soap is chemically defined as the alkali salt of fatty acids. The natural soap-making process involves a chemical reaction between oils and lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide). The process, called saponification, converts the oils to soap. All our hand-made soaps and shampoos are made using lye, but there is no lye in the finished product.

Glycerin, a natural byproduct of the saponification process, is a humectant. It attracts moisture and gives it back to your skin. In commercially sold soaps the glycerin is usually extracted and sold to cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies. In natural soap the glycerin, and all its nourishing properties, remain intact.

In the Mein Herr natural soaps we make use of vegetable oils as carrier oils. The specific composition results in soap which is both cleansing and moisturising. Various essential oils are then added for their respective properties and fragrance. All these soaps are available from our online shop.

Using natural soap results in stronger skin, a healthier head of hair and overall a healthier body in the long run.

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