Category: multi-task products

multi-purpose oil revisited

Once again, I completely forgot my blogoversary (sorry blog) and also didn’t post anything on here for a while. Mainly because WORK. Also because I didn’t have any interesting updates to add. The only recent change in skincare has been to return, now my skin is less dry, to meadowfoam seed oil. This has duly been updated here:

I’ve also updated the big main post on oils, first posted three years or so ago. That is, it’s about carrier oils (as opposed to fragrant / essential oils), used on skin mainly for moisturising. I also used the multi-purpose oil for makeup removal, pre-cleansing (especially with heavier sunscreen), body moisturising, armpit shaving, hair styling / frizz minimising, and I’ve probably missed a few other uses. For lots of stuff, anyway.

Here is the shiny updated post, same place as usual:

The main tweaks are organizational:

In that last section, this might be sorta kinda useful:



Look for lighter-feeling oils with lower molecular weight. Check the latter in chemistry textbooks, Wikipedia, etc.

Examples, cheap and readily-available from supermarkets, and should be likely to be OK on many skin types:

  • meadowfoam
  • mineral
  • safflower
  • sunflower

Look for light-weight oils, high in omega-3, and/or astringent.
Avoiding: omega-9 (monounsaturated fat), omega-6 especially if λ-linolenic acid (gamma-linolenic acid, GLA).

Some possible oils to try out:

  • grapeseed
  • hazelnut
  • safflower (low-oleic: check ingredients on bottle)

Light-weight, preferably high in omega-3, omega-6 OK if linoleic acid (LA).
Avoiding, to be on the safe side: nut oils; omega-9 (monounsaturated fat); omega-6 if λ-linolenic acid (gamma-linolenic acid, GLA), so seed oils unless high linoleic; astringency.

Some possible oils to try out:

  • meadowfoam
  • mineral
  • safflower
  • sunflower


Some possible oils to try out:

  • avocado (heavier)
  • borage / starflower seed
  • canola / rapeseed (careful: patch-test, as allergies are not uncommon)
  • evening primrose
  • hemp seed
  • macadamia (heavier)
  • meadowfoam
  • mineral
  • olive (EVOO, heavier)
  • rice bran (light but not astringent)
  • safflower
  • sunflower
  • sweet almond

Avoid: nut oils; omega-9 / oleic acid: emu, jojoba, olive oils (including derivatives such as squalane); seed oils unless high linoleic. Advice from people on MUA such as the great and good barbiH.

Some possible oils to try out:

  • mineral oil
The following two things are different, but both may result in skin looking and feeling dry:
  • Dryness = oil production by skin
  • Dehydration = water retention

Skin may be any combination of  the two: dry and dehydrated, oily and dehydrated, oily and hydrated, dry and hydrated. And it can be any of them in different areas. And to different degrees.

On dehydration: hydrate skin (water is the basic way), use oil to trap that layer next to skin. Hydrators can help too: a.k.a. humectants, like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, etc. In the form of toners, waters, Japanese and Korean moisturising waters/lotions, gels, serums. The most basic hydrator: plain water.


See also, on oils, and on irritation and comedogenicity indices:

Some more links, from barbiH on MUA:


And now for something completely different. Here are some irrelevant gratuitous nice treats from Chocolate Arts:

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 1.21.30 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 1.21.16 PM

skin & hair etc. updates: moisture

The weather is colder, my skin is drier. Meadowfoam seed oil is no longer up to the task. Current solution: sweet almond oil. For all the usual multi-purpose uses: pre-cleaning, makeup removal, moisturising face and body, shaving.

Next experiment: camelina oil.


Why: because it has a chemical composition and properties, when applied to skin, that are similar to hemp seed oil. Similar fatty acid profile, very high in omega-3 (linolenic acid). High in plant sterols. Goes into that groups of well-omega-ed oils: hemp seed, flax / linseed, chia seed.

Hemp oil is good on my skin, bu the stuff is outrageously damn fragile. Even if I keep it in the fridge, even the little time it spends in warm bathroom and especially in a warm shower, that’s enough to help it go rancid very fast. Sure, not as fast as keeping it out in the open (days); even with some “stabilising” oils like meadowfoam (adds maybe a few days to life).

Camelina oil is much more stable, doesn’t need refrigeration, has a long-ish shelf life. Sounds ideal.

Like some other oils I’ve liked, its main use and historical development have been as a more sustainable substitute for other oils. Its main uses recently have been for cattle feed (though the cattle industry isn’t exactly sustainable) and for biofuel. Camelina plants tolerant of cold and need little water to grow: eco-friendly compared to other plants. It’s a substitute for crude oil and derivatives, which was in turn a substitute for whale oil. It was also used in Europe as lamp oil before the 19th-century whale-oil era. Good cooking oil too.

So that’s like canola / rapeseed oil and meadowfoam seed oil. It’s somewhat related to rapeseed, they’re both members of the mustard family. No, that does not mean it’s like smearing hot stingy mustard on your skin. That’s foolish thinking.

One of the main areas for development, scientific study, and production of camelina seed is in central Canada, so I’m also supporting national and local agriculture. There have of course, as you might imagine, been forays into bioengineering the stuff; with, as you might imagine, pros and cons both ways. Corporate nasties trying to control seed supplies, ensure sterility of hybrids and thus a captive farmer market, and rule the world. And bio-engineering as a long laudable human occupation, one of the earliest human activities in technology and in scientific method / methodical science, from back around the Neolithic agricultural revolution somewhere around -10,000.

Not yet tested. Will report back once preliminary testing has been completed (so: if there are immediate reactions, and then how things go after 6 weeks or so).

UPDATE (2014-02-14): it arrived, I tested it out, and it’s a NO.

no news is good news

At least, on the selfish skincare etc. front.

Stuff at present being used on self in state of stability, top to toe:

  1. Curelle Hydra shampoo: for cleaning face, body, and hair
  2. Curelle Riche conditioner: on hair
  3. Mountain Rose Herbs meadowfoam seed oil: pre-wash, eye make-up remover, shaving, body moisturiser, face moisturiser
  4. Garden of Wisdom oat enriched serum: face hydrating serum (under moisturiser, i.e. oil)
  5. Silk Naturals lip balm or Badger unscented sensitive balm in the tin: lip balm and eye cream
  6. BurnOut eco-sensitive sunscreen SPF 30+: sunscreen, on face and any other exposed areas
  7. Elemental Herbs SPF 30 unscented sunstick: lips and eye area
  8. Curelle Styling Gel: on hair
  9. Chagrin Valley deodorant cream, coconut unscented version
  10. Reviva Labs mascara
  11. Tarte stick concealer in eye area
  12. Silk Naturals slick stick in Strawberry Fields

Occasional extras:

  • shea butter, Prevex, petrolatum, or the SDM “Life” brand knock-off of Aveeno’s unscented super moisturising lotion (the one with shea butter) on dry patches
  • Aveeno hand cream, because it was a gift so I’m using it up
  • and some other scented hand-creams that were Christmas presents from well-meaning nice people who have had to encounter my dry flaky hands and the horror that is my nails

In other news, the outside world is not a happy place. Even here in the Pacific North-West, where the weather is balmy and many things seem rather pleasant and civilized–tolerant, liberal, socialist, human(e)–in comparison with some other places; yet unhappiness and unpleasantness are here too. Read the news. Talk about it with other people: family, friends, strangers on public transport, dog-walkers, people in check-out line-ups in shops, barriste making your coffee. Discuss. Question. Rinse and repeat. Spread words. Agree, argue, change your mind, refine opinions, read some more, think. That’s what civilization is all about. Sure, democracy and a rights-based and -respecting society too; but civilization above all.

On which subject of civilization: here is some chocolate, in the form of truffles from Vancouver’s finest, the lovely Chocolate Arts:

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oil update: winter skin (and other bodily parts)

futurama: bender and robot oil

A quickie post this one, mainly as a pathetic excuse to repost some glorious images of chocolate-based tasty treats!

It is now winter. Not quite officially, we have a couple of days yet to go. Unofficially, and according to older calendars, we’ve been in winter since the beginning of November and will stay here until the beginning of February. At once a more pessimistic version of the season—it starts earlier—and a more sensible and practical one. As soon as you’re wearing extra woolly layers and scarves, it’s winter. Sorry.

This older version of seasonal categorization also works out better at the other end: the start of spring vegetables (and, alas, lambs destined to live and end their lives as “spring lambs”). It may still be freezing cold in February, but you’ll also be noticing more light. Even in the horrors of extreme northerly areas such as those I’m originally from, and from which I’ve spent as much as possible of my life escaping by living in lower slightly sunnier latitudes like Vancouver.

But winter means winter skin. And hair. And nails. Continue reading

shea butter: some sources

fair trade organic nilotica shea butter, from Tahoe Mountain Soap Company

not to be confused with vanilla ice-cream

Selection criteria:

  • fair trade:
    be that by one of the formal certifying bodies, or through other equivalent equitable trade
  • preferably from women’s co-operatives

See previously and lengthily:

review: shea butter

praise de lard


A rich heavy dense moisturiser. At room temperature, somewhere between stiffly-whipped cream, wax, and solid. Melts at human body temperature. To use, scoop out a small quantity and melt, using human body parts. My own preference is for using two fingertips, but let your imagination run riot, alongside that of significant other(s); NB, like all oily things, don’t mix with latex things like condoms.

Depending on variety, smells slightly nutty.

Once melted, can be patted and pressed into skin (ex. lips, eye area) or smoothed around larger expanses (ex. limbs).

Moisturises. Can, depending on various other factors, be a good and soothing thing on certain skin conditions that involve skin desiccation and rawness. Good for moisture retention. May have added benefits, at least on the antioxidant level, c/o the vitamin content. May offer some slight SPF, but not enough to be any use to those of us of the gingery flammable persuasion.

For more on attributes and benefits, see for a good start:


Continue reading

reviews: some experimental failures

OK, a first one would of course be the Viagra Paradigm. Today is the 1st of May. A good day on which to reflect on alternatives, and maybe do more than sit around doing so at home in an armchair. If it’s a nice sunny day, why not go and do something actively and proactively about it? Might involve some singing too, and that’s very good for you.

may day

Preamble and/or irreelevent digression over, back to folly-praising business and beauty products. Continue reading

“Bah humbug” to New Year’s resolutions

Yes, so much for the fancy-pants complication of my life by moving from ONE to TWO multi-purpose oils. It’s just way too complicated for me, my bathroom, my clumsiness first thing in the morning, and my myopia.

Back to basics, tried and trusted, that work: ONE OIL TO RULE THEM ALL and in the darkness bind them. In a good way, Continue reading

an update for 2013

Happy New Year!

This won’t be one of those feckin awful “new year, new skin, new you” bits of baloney. I don’t like baloney, or indeed many sausagey things like it: you know the sort, the texture’s a bit too smooth for comfort, there’s something suspicious about it. And you’d be right to be suspicious: compare and contrast baloney vs. Vegan Dad’s home-made sausages.

No matter how thin you slice it, it’s still baloney. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Or, in other non-words:

Dr Mark Rosengarten, Vancouver: cosmetic surgeon to those who deserve it

never mind the bollocks, here’s the… deviant mutant spawn of the Sex Pistols generation: never have we been in greater need of revolution

Other than in situations where I can only use one oil (travel, staying with friends/family and forgotten to bring stuff with me or it’s an impromptu stay-over, etc.) I’m no longer just using the one oil for everything for which an oil could be used. The DIY multi-purpose oil has now become two such great, amazing, and no not actually at all original and unique concoctions: see here, blame this dude or her ladyship here; regarding the latter, remember—especially anyone who’s thinking of making money out of something that’s already there and claiming the credit for it as their invention, and those who are doing this already (your names and company names are two proper nouns long)—remember that hubris is a very bad thing, as exemplified by this poor lass.

Happy cheery story-time over, on to the unctuous oiliness proper:

  • multi-purpose oil #1: the one that gets rinsed off, and sits on skin first in a gloopy way = currently
    • sweet almond oil: any brand
    • or olive oil: extra-virgin, Greek and more specifically from Crete, in a large 3 l bright green can; c/o the Parthenon, Broadway, Vancouver.

Which is a fabulous grocers/deli. Sorry, non-Vancouverites; but there’s plenty other good delis all over the world. Thank the peaceful commercial gods for millenia of global trade: one upside to desire and consumption.

Praise be to Folly in the highest!

Note: I’ve also bought oil many other places—supermarkets, grocers, delis, markets—and I’m not that fussy about it. EVOO is always cold-pressed etc., that’s in its nature and definition; so if there’s too much bunkum on the label touting how cold its pressing is I’ll get annoyed and might not buy due to marketeering allergies.

But I will pay a little more for one that’s a fair price. I know how olives are grown and the oil produced. It’s labour-intensive. If it costs less than a certain amount, there are corners being cut. The usual corners are unfair labour and mixing with cheaper oils made with cheaper labour (this seems to happen a lot in Italy, lately, with mixing of oils from other countries, but enough of the production is in Italy for the oil to count as Italian-made). A generous (but bordering on stinginess to workers) base-line for bulk larger quantities: at least $10.00 – 12.00 / litre, if shipped directly, family business, co-op, no middle-men, buying from a smaller place with regular turnover (and strong supplier connections, ex. to family and ancestral location). If not, then more.

That’s not crazy money: especially compared to actual ready-made shop-bought “proper” moisturisers…

  • multi-purpose oil #2: the one that stays on skin, and sinks in fast = currently
    • meadowfoam seed oil: Mountain Rose Herbs is the last lot I got; I’ve also bought it from local Vancouver suppliers

The relevant posts have duly been updated:

UPDATE (2012-01-04): back to just one oil, The Universal Multi-Purpose One And Only One (meadowfoam). Two oils was just too much arse. This is what happens when you’re a minimalist, hate clutter, despise prissy multiple products kicking around in the bathroom ready to trip you up, AND combine that with being short-sighted and lazy.

Also, a reminder of a chocolatey oily joy:

Denis Cotter, olive oil chocolate mousse: recipe (click image) at the otherwise not-my-cup-of-tea Doily Torygraph, and in Mr Cotter’s splendid cookery books, which any gastronome–vegetarian or otherwise–is heartily encouraged to investigate. Go forth and spend your gift vouchers!