summer updates

magic oil

I was away. This involved not carrying too much stuff. Unfortunately, until the FAA and suchlike get rid of that absurd 3-1-1 max 3 oz / 100 ml rule, I am obliged to check in one bag when flying, so as to have adequate sunscreen supplies. Until the kind of sunscreen I can use on my skin is available more widely, I am stuck with carrying around my own supplies. (Next time you see someone with a more visible disability than my relatively trivial one, spare them a thought.) Given that I live half-way around the world from the various places I was going, and given that I didn’t have the time to go by slow boat or foot: I was obliged to fly. Yes, I made my carbon-offsetting donations (and percentage-of-ticket-price donation to trees), like a good person.

Here are the lucky beautification products that accompanied me on my jet-setting adventures.

In the carry-on bag:

  • sunglasses
  • usual stuff, for beautfying the mind (ebooks)
  • usual stuff, for beautifying the soul (smartphone + multiple cheap phones for various foreign countries, for contacting friends and family)
  • and other usual stuff that lurks in bags

Inside said bag, in the 3-1-1 bag (Muji, the bigger one of the two currently available–full litre size–with a zip and currently with grey piping):

muji 3-1-1 bag

  • 100 ml Sensodyne toothpaste, forgot the exact name but blue minty gel
    No SLS. Yes there are “greener” toothpastes, but this one is Officially Approved by my lovely dentist, and besides I like blue gels (who doesn’t? they’re fun, and you need fun first thing in the morning and last thing at night) and I like the taste of this stuff.
  • 100 ml flip-top bottle (Muji) of meadowfoam seed oil
    Purposes: cleanser/sunscreen remover, makeup remover, shaving stuff, face moisturiser, body moisturiser
  • tin of Dr Bronner’s unscented magic balm*
  • 90 ml GoToob of sunscreen
  • sunscreen stick*
  • 90 ml Muji flip-cap tube of EarthSafe clean air fragrance-free shampoo
    Purposes: shampoo, face cleanser, body cleanser (pits and pubes; the rest is fine with just oil)
  • another Muji one, with EarthSafe clean air fragrance-free conditioner
  • decanted small quantity (Boots stackable plastic jars) of Primal Pit Paste unscented cream deodorant*
  • HerbanLuxe waterproof mascara in black
  • Silk Naturals HD peach concealer stick in P20*
  • Silk Naturals Kisser Slicker in Nectar*

* = While these are all technically solids, in my experience of frequent flying since 9/11 it is totally random and at the whim of a security person whether these items get counted as solids or liquids. Seriously. I have gone through the exact same airport twice within days, and had different instructions each time (same goes for the shoes, electronic devices, laptops in/out of sleeves, etc. malarkey). So they go in the 3-1-1, just in case. Better safe than sorry. Plus there’s plenty room. Trye story: I once nearly got detained by security by arguing back about a lippie that was under threat, as I pointed out that it was actually less liquid (if “liquid” = “has the potential to be liquid”) than my bar of emergency chocolate, and indeed than my own body (70% water).

In the regular toilet-bag (also Muji):

muji toilet bag

  • Preserve toothbrush
  • facecloth, part of a larger baby muslin cloth originally intended as a diaper/nappy (Canada Tire?)
  • Gillette Venus disposable razor: lives in travel toilet-bag, to avoid trauma (or fear of trauma, almost as bad) of losing my main Venus razor at home (the one that’s not disposable)
  • Sebamed cleansing bar: for self, also for hand-washing clothes while traveling
  • Nvey Eco solid cake eyeliner in brown + brush
  • cotton pads (Etsy) for makeup removal
  • cotton-wool buds / Q-tips (organic, with paper stems so they can be recycled, etc.)
  • eyelash comb (Tweezerman)
  • small mirror (Muji again), for mascara application and such
  • nail-scissors (Boots many years ago?) and glass nail file (Tescos)
  • hair-brush (The Body Shop) and comb
  • the assorted supplements: vitamin D, astaxanthin, probiotics

In the checked bag:

  • vast quantities of sunscreen: several tubes of Derma E body SPF 30, two “just in case” ones of Vanicream SPF 50
  • hat
  • clothes to cover self
  • another 250 ml of meadowfoam seed oil in an old bottle, of unknwon provenance (I have tonnes of these: I only seem to get rid of them if making up some oil for someone else or decanting some as a gift)


Everything that actually mattered. Like getting to where I was supposed to, in one piece. Seeing most of the people and doing most of the things I was supposed to. Remembering to bring the things one actually needs: passport, wallet, travel documents. Not losing any of them along the way. Not over-packing: I wore/used everything I packed. Not over-packing on the way back: I sent parcels back to myself along the way, whenever I bought anything, and limited my purchases to useful things.

Happy times were had. But the who, what, when, and where… that’s none of your business, nor that of this here blog.

And anyway, just being away on holiday is always a great and splendid thing. Wherever and however you go, for whatever length of time. Even one night away. Heck, even an afternoon off. Possibly even having your lunch (however rapid that might be) as a picnic in a nice park or on a beach… ah, the joys of living in Vancouver…


I used my mascara as eyeliner. Usual eyeliner brush, dip into mascara on wand, apply to lash-line as tight-liner to enhance roots. Because yes I sometimes can’t be arsed locating, opening, moistening etc the cake eyeliner; had to get ready in a hurry and had no water to hand. Ça arrive.

The mascara in question, which is a really super good one, from HerbanLuxe via Etsy:

herbanluxe waterproof vegan mascara

INGREDIENTS: distilled water, arabica gum, vegetable glycerine, candelilla wax, ozokerite wax, carnauba wax, iron oxide, mica, provitamin B5, caprylyl glycol (natural preservative). $13.42 CAD + $9.54 CAD Shipping.


I forgot to bring either the witch-hazel or an antioxidant serum. That was fine.

I ran out of meadowfoam seed oil. That, too, was fine. When I found I was down to the last inch in the second bottle, I topped it up with what was available at my then host’s place. Of the oils she had (kitchen), I used extra-virgin olive oil and sunflower seed oil. This, too, was fine: indeed better than using meadowfoam seed oil alone had been.

When I returned, I changed my oils accordingly. And had a think: actually, this is a sensible mix for my kind of skin.

Sunflower seed oil = high in linoleic acid (omega-6), one of the essential fatty acids that is definitely for shizzle useful for skin barrier maintenance, building its various components, and preventing trans-dermal water loss. High-LA oils used alone on my skin tend to be too light, though; I need more of a heavy occlusive layer on top. Most seed- and nut-derived oils are more or less high in linoleic acid. Sunflower and safflower are the ones that are cheapest, most readily available, and are the blandest and least reactive. Reasons also for why they have had the most experimental work done using them on skin. Currently using this one, from Maison Orphée (Québec, organic yadayada, but OK price and the main one available locally here in Van):

sunflower oil

NB: oil used topically on and better for skin =/= oils to eat with better fatty acid compositions for general nutritional purposes.

For edible oils, I still eat more ones that are higher in omega-3 fatty acids (ALA, alpha-linolenic acid) and monounsaturates: the regulars are extra-virgin olive and hemp seed oils. Also (but less often) cos they taste nice and/or are more appropriate for certain kinds of cooking: coconut, flaxseed, hazelnut, peanut, sesame, soybean. And I eat lots of avocados, macadamias, olives, pumpkin and other squash seeds (keeping them and roasting them separately whenever we cook and eat squash at home), walnuts; plus other stuff that’s less fashionable right now (as less palaeo) like almonds, pine-nuts, and sunflower seeds (for magnesium).

I also cheat on vegetarianism somewhere between “very occasionally” and “often,” depending on circumstances and suchlike: fish lovely fissssshhhhhhhh. Herring, especially raw pickled (sorry this a Northern European genetic thing); salmon, especially smoked, hot-smoked, candied, barbecued; mackerel and sardines, especially super dead fresh grilled on the beach. Bouillabaisse, fish soup, some fish stews.

But I digress. Back to oil on skin, and the rest of the magic mix.

Olive oil = high in oleic acid (omega-9), which tends to be lower in drier skin types like mine. My skin effing loves the stuff, also in things like avocado oil. Used alone, can clog (and if your skin isn’t like mine, or indeed of an oilier and more acne-prone persuasion, AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE. Probably.) Used alone, it can be heavy and take for ever to sink into skin. There are other high-oleic options, but extra-virgin olive oil is handy as it’s more or less cheap and readly available. We have it already as a regular kitchen staple, buying it in large cans from the local Greek deli. Which sounds swankier than it is. Here is our usual one:

olive oil

image source: Borakis Greek Food (UK)

Meadowfoam seed oil = interesting fatty acid composition (see elsewhere on this here blog), very moisturising, sinks in fast. Very stable (long-chain fatty acids), prolongs shelf-life of less stable oils it’s mixed with. Great stuff but, used alone, not as mousturising as high-oleic oils. More expensive than the two above. From Mountain Rose Herbs. Here’s a picture of the bottle:

meadowfoam seed oil

Image source: an excellent post by Axion At Home: “Body Series – Oils – Part 2: Meadow Foam Seed, Jojoba Oil, and Hemp Seed Oil. My first post on this topic covered three oils (Almond, Avocado, and Coconut) and compared them based on various characteristics. I discussed how using oils (vegetable, nut, and/or seed oils) to moisturize and care for our skin is a great idea for numerous reasons including quality, cost, availability, effectiveness, flexibility, etc. So, onward search to find the right oil or oils to use…. ” (2012-10-17)

Mix them and lo hey presto! Magic oil that has the benefits of all three. Current proportions: 2 parts of sunflower : 1 part of olive : 1 part of meadowfoam. Approximately. Mixed and kept in old Mountain Rose Herbs plastic bottles (meadowfoam seed oil) with old flip-top caps (probably from old hair stuff: I keep these and reuse as needed). One in the shower, one by the sink. I don’t actually *need* two but I am lazy, so it’s a monumental hassle to move a few steps, open a shower door, remove a bottle from a shelf, deploy it, replace it, close door, and move a few steps again. You know how it is.


All’s well that ends well.


For actually magic oils (unlike my multi-purpose oil that really isn’t at all magical), see the marvels and mysteries at Lucky Mojo:

lucky mojo magic oils Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.49.26 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.49.40 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.49.52 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.50.05 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.50.16 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.50.29 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.50.40 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.50.53 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.51.03 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.51.18 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.51.27 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.51.38 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.51.50 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.52.01 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.52.12 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.52.31 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.52.41 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.52.50 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.53.01 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.53.11 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.53.22 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.53.33 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.53.43 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.53.55 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.54.06 AM


And also:

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.55.18 AM


And saints (just the first few)…

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.56.03 AM

etc. etc. etc., as one might imagine…

A pluralist tolerant company, here are the first few of their Hindu oils…

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.56.25 AM


Judaism is not left out, here is the first selection:

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.56.45 AM

There’s also planets, the zodiac, and last but not least: plain old essential oils:

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.04.20 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.04.36 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.04.48 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.05.00 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.05.13 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.05.26 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.05.41 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.05.57 AM Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.06.07 AM


Live and learn, and wonder at the world.

For it is a wonderful world; our fellow-man is marvellous and awesome; and while there’s life, there’s hope (metaphysically-assisted or otherwise) and ever more things to learn and marvel at. Life well lived operates as a virtuous circle: live and learn, and learning keeps you alive longer, healthier, mentally and emotionally healthier. All of which is jolly good.


A contender for Most Expensive (and therefore, for some Folly-Praisers, “Best”) Oil in the World:

agar wood oil (expensive)

Or, back to one of the constituents in my (non-magical) oil, the noble and ancient olive, this from The Most Expensive Journal:

world's most expensive olive oil

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