Going Shampoo-less

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The road towards a healthier life is not an easy one. You can’t take an escalator all the way to the top, it is a step by step process. I am by no means considered a healthy person but I have become more conscious of my actions and what impact it has on the society. Living in a chaotic, never stopping concrete jungle it is very easy to fall into and contribute to the city’s pollution. I have to come into realization that I will not be able to fix the city’s dangerous pollution but I have to take responsibility for my own contribution, whether or not it will have a positive impact on the environment.

It is quite clear to foreigners and Egyptians that Cairo does not have any green public spaces. And if it does, it is all privatized and enjoyed by the privilege which leads most of the population behind. I am a strong believer that nature is the cure to our soul, it is the way towards knowing God and being closer to Him. When you hinder people from decoding their stress and rejuvenate their energy than the country is building an aggressive and resentful beings.

What does this all have to do with going “shampoo-less” a.k.a no poo? Well, since the air in Cairo is nothing but a poison. Apart from trying to build a mini garden and eating healthier, I also questioned what else was I doing that could harm my body? Using conventional house products was one of those things that I’ve completely eliminated from my cleaning routine. Instead, I use apple cider vinegar for everything related to cleaning and more.

On a rare moment where I watch t.v, one of those dr. shows was on and a guest had explained how she had not washed her hair with shampoo for 5 or more years. At first, everyone in the audience were frazzled by this concept. However, as she explained how much we are exposed to chemicals on our daily life and how shampoo strips our natural oils and that not too long ago we were not using shampoo, all of this starter making sense.

Immediately after having watched the show, I started making my own research for alternatives to using shampoo and came across the “no poo” terminology. I found a lot of alternatives that were just overwhelming and would take a lot of organization to go on the “no poo” journey. The simplest alternative to shampoo was by washing my hair with banking soda and apple cider vinegar. It didn’t require any work since I already have those products, so all I had to do is just start. I said goodbye to my store shampoo and conditioners and nevertheless saw great results. For moisturizer, I always use a fusion of almond, castor and coconut oil on my hair but this time I try to cut it down to allow my scalp to product the natural oils.

For a couple of weeks everything was dandy but afterwards, I’ve noticed that my hair was breaking and my ends where very dry. One of my daughter who has similar hair to mine was having the same issue. Although our hair looked better than when we were using regular shampoo and conditioner, the dryness and breakage was driving me crazy. I once again jumped online and made more research on the “no poo” journey and came to find out that baking powder has a very high PH level that our hair is not able to handle, therefore experiencing breakage and dryness is very normal.

I came across another alternative to shampoo that required blending canned coconut milk and aloe vera and rinsing the hair with diluted apple cider vinegar. This combination is so refreshing to the scalp and even skin, definitely living your body moist and soft. There was a lot of this mixture left behind so I just froze the rest in ice cubicle batches. However, this method left my hair feeling waxy on my scalp and oily. Although I loved the moist and how soft it makes my skin and hair feel, it was as though I had too much oil in my hair.

After not using banking soda on my hair for about a month, I had go back to this method to wash all the build up oils but this time I used a little less baking soda than usual. The outcome had my hair feeling lighter, airy and brought my natural color back to life. I also had found out through my research that the type of water you wash your hair with can have also an impact on the health of your hair. Water alone is sufficient to wash away the dirt in the hair but it all depends whether or not you living in a region that has hard or soft water. Hard water has a lot of harmful chemicals and minerals that also strip away the natural oils of the hair. Unfortunately, Cairo falls under the hard water category but there are some things you can do to repair the damage that hard water creates.

One step you can take is buying a filter for the shower but if that is expensive one can use rain water by putting a clean bucket outside until filled. If you live in the desert and almost no rain all year round and don’t have a filter than making a hair mask once in a while can be very helpful. You can use either the coconut milk/aloe water mixture or mask that I find helpful to remove dandruff and dryness is using olive oil with turmeric spices and leave in the hair and/or skin for 30-1 hr.

In conclusion, my hair is still not the way I want it to look and feel like with all of my experience with the “no poo” method. I am quite positive that the water in Cairo is not doing any good towards my hair either which is something I have to live with or invest in a shower filter. In the mean time, I realized that not all shampoo alternatives work for everyone. The “no poo” journey is a definitely a trial and error but patients is required and I have hope I will come across either an already all natural shampoo or a recipe alternatives. Although, my hair in the mean time is no where perfect or how I want it to be, I can tell it is definitely healthier because I no longer have dandruff and my natural color is slowly appearing. Also, this step I took towards eliminating conventional shampoos got me thinking of other healthy steps I can take next. Food is definitely one of the biggest challenges but I am eager to master healthy eating habits and share it with you all.

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Gezazy Store a Gem in Maady

Today as I was walking by a strip filled with plants and flowers in Maadi, one store always captures my attention. However, today I entered  and asked about a particular furniture that I wanted to know if it was on sale. From afar, you can tell that the store uses recycling products such as glass and wood and recreates beautiful pieces of art. A young woman immediately greeted me with a warm smile and to my surprise Asmaa Farrouk was the owner of this Gezazy. It was a glorious moment to meet such a creative young woman being an entrepreneur during times where the world thinks that Egypt is collapsing due to recurrent events on the media.

What is Gezazy store in a nutshell, you might ask? I will link her facebook page here, so you can check out her work but I will also steal some of her photos and place them down bellow. Asmaa recycles bottles, glass and wood and recreates new things with it. For example, she has a huge collection in her facebook demonstrating lighting features, lamps that she recreates with recycling bottles, she also recycles wood and makes awesome, edgy and modern furniture. Not to mention she has a free library and lounge, where you can just chill, read a book while zipping on free tea and coffee.  Ohh, I almost forgot to mention, not only does she have a carpenter on site building furniture but you can also place an order for her to send a carpenter to your house and make anything that you want using recycling wood and panels.

This definitely was an O M Geee moment and I couldn’t wait to share her store here on my blog. If you live in Cairo you should visit Asmaa’s Gezazy store at 250 St in Maadi. If you do not live in Egypt please support her by visiting her Facebook page by clicking here on Gezazy you will get very inspired.  Enough talking and here are some of her work.

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Her on site library, where you can read and enjoy a free coffee or tea.

5 Places to Visit with Kids in Cairo

One of my biggest struggles living in Cairo was the lack of playgrounds, especially free and public ones. Back in Boston, I could go on random walks and always find new playgrounds and it was an effortless, inexpensive thing to do with your kids. Here in Egypt on the other hand is completely different, you can’t go on random walks easily not to mention finding free access to safe playgrounds for your children to play in. I was getting very frustration that my kids could hardly enjoy the outdoors in a safe place. So, I googled and searched everywhere in the internet for easy, inexpensive places that I could take my kids to on a weekly basis. There are 5 places that I would say, I enjoy visiting the most and my kids are beyond happy.

  1. First place, is the closest to Maadi and it is called Maadi Island, in Corniche which overlooks the Nile. There are many things to do for both adults with children or without. There are upscale restaurants and cafes. There’s also a gran space of greenery where you kid can run wild as well as playgrounds.

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2. Al Azhar Botanic Garden is my favorite place to visit with children or without. Azhar garden has the most amazing panorama view of OId Cairo. It’s a perfect place to escape from the chaotic concrete metropolitan city and enjoy the scenery encompass with water fountains and vast greenery. It has upscale restaurants, wedding venues as well as street vendors selling affordable sandwiches and ice cream or you can plan a perfect picnic outing. There is a huge playground area build on sand which is totally safe for children of all ages. Azhar Garden is a Gem in Cairo!

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3. If you need to take your children outside of home but the weather is too cold or not so great than Maadi City Centre a.k.a Carrefour in Zahraa Al Maddi is a perfect place to visit. It’s kind of killing two birds with one stone because you can make your grocery shopping at Carrefour and have your children play at the Magic Planet.

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4. All children love to see animal so off course the Zoo would be the next option on the list. The Zoo is located in Giza not too far from Al Maadi and it’s pretty inexpensive. It’s not the best kept zoo in the world but you have a wide range of exotic animals and a nice space of greenery. It is also a nice place to have a picnic after an exhausting day of walking around the zoo.

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5. The Orman Park right across the Giza Zoo is an old Botanic Garden that cost  1 Egyptian pound for the entrance (consider this free). This park is not as well kept as Al Azhar Graden, however, it is a perfect place to escape the city and enjoy nature for a very low prize. There is not much you can do besides having your children run around the park. There is also a playground inside the park which you have to pay a separate entrance to but I would not recommend any parents to let their children play inside it ( I REPEAT DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN IN). The playground is totally unsafe and design to have accidents. Other than that it is a nice place to visit with children. Not to mention every spring they run a Plant Festivel, where plant business owners get to showcase their many plants. During this time, the park is filled with people and gorgeous plants.

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Disclaimer none of these pictures are mine, I took them from google image.All pictures taken in this blog are mine unless I stated not.