Friday, July 29, 2016

E-Book Publishing Announcement

I've been dying to tell you about this for months, but now all the stars are aligning and I can! For some time now, I've been working with Wise Ink, a Minnesota-based publishing company to retool and relaunch Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally, and (finally!) bring you Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs.

Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally: A Guide

Launch Date: August 30th, 2016
This book first began as a lengthy article I'd written about how I brought my own hair back from a mass of splits and tangles. In 2013 I expanded to be a full-length guide and offered it as a PDF in the store.

Three years had seen a lot of praise and a lot of hair on the mend! But while the book did a great job explaining how to salvage damaged hair, there was a persistent follow-up question: how do I grow healthy hair?

In August, I'll be launching a new version of the book; it more than doubles in length to 70 pages, adding even more full-color pictures, natural recipes, and greater insight into what causes damage and how to mitigate it. It now delves into how to encourage healthy hair grown with proper nutrition, supplements, natural oils, essential oils, topical applications, and growth-stimulating techniques.

Be on the lookout for pre-order details and special deals for those that already own it, but would like the expanded edition in the new formats!

Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs: A Guide

Launch Date: September 27th, 2016
The only thing I love more with natural dyes than using them on myself is helping others discover and learn how to use them. A project long in development, I am happier than a fairy in a bowl of milk and honey to finally release it.

Over 130 pages, I can sincerely say that after years of reading, researching, and experimenting, this is the most comprehensive, detailed, start-to-finish guide on herbal hair coloring. It is loaded with full-color photos and recipes, explaining not just the how, but also the why and the science behind herbal coloring. As the release date comes closer I'll share more, but it is everything both novices and veterans of herbal hair coloring want in both a starter guide and a go-to-reference all brought together in one book.

What formats will the books be in?
Both books will be offered in ePUB, Mobi, and PDF.

Where will I be able to purchase them?
Both books will be for sale on (more details on our new site reveal soon!), Etsy, and Amazon.

Will there be print versions?
Sadly not. Because of the great many color photos and graphics in both books it is too cost-prohibitive to do a print run.

What about versions in other languages?
For now the books will be English-only. Much like color printing, the cost of translation and multi-language licensing is more than is possible right now.

Have any thoughts or questions?  I'm happy to answer what I can without spoiling future fun!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Herbal & Essential Oil Head Lice Treatment Kits now in the store!

This kit includes 100g of powdered herbs meant for treating head lice and 1/32 oz tea tree and lavender essential oil.

Choose from a blend with sedr (colorless), senna/cassia (golden), or henna (red-orange). Note that henna will permanently stain you hair red and is best for those with already hennaed hair or for very very dark hair. While henna is specifically called out in the cited study (bottom of the listing), we understand that many people may not want orange hair, and so offer other blonde and colorless options.

Our Herbal Head Lice treatment works on a few fronts, firstly by suffocating the lice, secondly by killing the lice and eggs with the essential oils and fenugreek, and thirdly by acting as a gentle abrasive to remove nits and eggs from hair like a fine-tooth comb. Tea tree and lavender essential oil are also excellent for both hair and scalp and will help soothe irritation.

Herbal Head Lice Treatment Preparation & Instructions:

  1. In a bowl add the herbal powder. In a separate container heat distilled water until steaming but not boiling and add, mixing until you have a mud the consistency of pancake batter. Add 10 drops of the enclosed tea tree and lavender essential oil. You may also want to add a small amount (1-2 TB) of fruit acid, such as lemon juice, as the acidity will help dissolve the sticky substance nits use to attach themselves and their eggs to the hair shaft. 
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set someplace warm. Atop a warm electronic, such as a computer tower works well, or under a warm lamp. Mix occasionally, letting sit for at least 2-4 hours, and no more than 6.
  3. When ready to use, wash hair but do not condition (or condition very lightly). Section towel-dried hair and work the herbal mud into the hair, making sure not to miss spots. Carefully pile hair atop the head and cover with a shower cap or plastic wrap. Leave on for 2-6 hours, the longer you leave it on the deeper the conditioning benefits and the more colored tones that will be imparted.
  4. Rinse well with water. If you find rinsing difficult, try soaking your hair in the bathtub or a bucket first, or use a lots of a cheap silicone-free conditioner (like VO5) to aid rinsing

Ingredients: Sedr or senna/cassia or henna, feungreek, tea tree and lavender essential oil.

Storage: The powder can be stored in the freezer for well over a year, so long as it is kept in an airtight bag or container. The mud can be kept frozen for 6 months, and may yield a better stain if frozen.

Citation: M. El-Basheir and Mahmoud A. H. Fouad (2002) A Preliminary Pilot survey on Head Lice, Pediculosis in Sharkia Governate and Treatment of Lice with Natural Plant Extracts. Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology, Vol 32, No 3, December 2002, Zeinab

Friday, July 15, 2016

Selkie Herbal Detangler Gets an Upgrade!

It's hard to believe that it's almost exactly a year from the day that you, my wonderful customers, made Selkie Herbal Detangler a reality though our Etsy Fund campaign! You raised nearly $1,500 to bring this amazing product to market and also allow me to purchase a much-needed filling machine. It's hard to properly illuminate just how amazing that machine is and how much it's improved the process of filling many, many bottles and pots of salve.

A couple hundred bottles later, I'm happy to call it a success. People really love it!

While everyone unanimously enjoyed how Selkie worked and left their hair feeling amazing, there were some customers who felt like the smell wasn't all it could be. Here's a review that encompasses a sentiment we've heard off an on over the last year:

I took the feedback to heart and made some adjustments to Selkie.  So what did we change?

  • Greatly reduced the amount of fenugreek and increased the amount of slippery elm. The main culprit of the scent people thought was a little strange was the fenugreek. The amonut of marshmallow root stayed the same. It's these three ingreduents that give Selkie its slip by virtue of their mucilaginous compounds.  They also naturally soften hair, provide natural plant protein, add shine, and soothe an itchy or dry scalp.
  • Rebalanced the ratios of the essential oils. We had a few, though not many, reports of some cats liking Selkie a little too much because of the catnip essential oil. While catnip is still a component of Selkie, we dropped the amount to make it a little less alluring to most niphead cats. We've rebalanced the essential oils overall so while the scent will still be herby and clean, it will be a little less sweet and a little more crisp. 

What DIDN'T we change?

  • How amazing Selkie works. While the ingredients were rebalanced, each ingredient listed is still present, making Selkie as effective as it always was! It still is made from: Distilled water, Marshmallow root, slippery elm & fenugreek seed herbal infusion, Aloe vera gel, Apple cider vinegar, Argan Oil, Borage Oil, Camelina Oil, Vitamin E Oil, and the essential oils of Catnip, Cedarwood, Lavender, Lime, Petitgrain, and Sage.
  • The sizes. We still offer a 1 oz bottle, an 8 oz bottle, and an 8 oz soft refill pouch. The mister bottles are still amber glass, the soft pouch perfect for saving on shipping.

Thank you Discount

So if you loved how Selkie worked, but weren't totally sold on the smell, I would encourage you to give it another try! As a thank you to all the wonderful customers who provided their sincere, constructive feedback, enjoy 20% off through 7/22/2016 with the discount code


As always, please let me know what you think!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Using Quality Oils

One of the things NightBlooming goes through a lot of is oils. You'll find them in our Signature Oil of the Month, our hair salves, natural oil samples, Triple Moon Oil, Selkie Detangler, and Thriae Scalp Scrub.

But seeing something simple like "Avocado oil" on the ingredients list doesn't really tell the whole story, and here is where NightBlooming products stand out from many others you'll find.
The oils we use are of very high quality, and although this applies to all our oils, we'll use avocado as our example.  Why is avocado oil so good?

This deep golden oil is an edible oil pressed from the fruit of the Persea americana (avocado). It is used for lubrication and in cosmetics where it is valued for its regenerative and moisturizing properties. Rich in nutrients, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, this nutritional oil is excellent for enhancing hair health. It supplies vitamins A, B, D, and E to nourish both hair follicles and the scalp. Vitamin E also acts as a protective antioxidant. It has natural humectant properties, adding and locking in moisture. The monounsaturated fatty acids will give hair a glossy shine and silky texture. The amino acids will promote the growth of new hair cells.

Below is the oil that we use (left) and something that I've seen in many competitor's products (right).

The Mountain Rose Herbs avocado, what we use, is a dark, rich color.  It is cold-pressed, organic, and hexane free, which means that those vitamins, mono-saturated fatty acids, and amino acids stay intact. The less expensive avocado oil is not organic, and it's processing has destroyed many of the important compounds that make this oil beneficial.

 You can see this in the color.  The oil we use (on the left) is a deep, rich color. When rubbed between your fingers it is thicker and silkier. By contrast, the less expensive oil (on the right) is so pale in a dropper that it is nearly clear.

There are a lot of confusing terms out there when it comes to oils, but quality and process do matter. A bottle of avocado oil from the cooking aisle will be a pale yellow color, but a higher-quality, expeller-pressed version of avocado is a rich green color that has many more of its critical fatty acids intact. Lower-grade oils are often extracted with chemicals or heat, both of which can damage the more delicate compounds found in the oil. When looking for a quality oil, there are several terms that are helpful to familiarize yourself with:

  • Expeller-pressed— The basic idea behind expeller-pressed oil is to force oil out of something, most often a nut, seed, or vegetable, with only mechanical strength. In more ancient times, this was done by with mallets or crank-style apparatuses, but today it is accomplished with hydraulics that allow for oil to be expelled in much greater quantities. These quantities, however, are still smaller than those achieved by heat or chemicals, making these oils more expensive but of higher quality. 
  • Cold-pressed—Very similar to expeller-pressed, except that the oil is expressed under temperature-controlled conditions. During the expeller-pressing process, heat is generated through friction as the machine’s plates press and rotate against the nut or vegetable being crushed, and cold-pressing seeks to minimize this. Cold pressing is most seen with very delicate oils whose composition is adversely affected by heat, such as grapeseed or olive oil. 
  • Organic—Organic oils are made from nuts, seeds, or vegetables that have not been treated with pesticides or herbicides that are not approved by the USDA Department of Organic Agriculture (or similar governing body in other nations). It is nearly impossible to remove all traces of pesticides and herbicides before processing, so trace amounts may end up in the resulting oil. 
  • Non-GMO—Means that the oil has come from a source plant that has not been genetically modified. Although it’s common enough to see labels certifying oils as free from GMOs, those labels are not actually produced by the government. Rather, certification is a process conducted by private companies. In order to be certified as GMO-free, less than one percent of a food’s ingredients can be genetically modified. 
  • Hexane-free—Hexane is sometimes applied to nuts and vegetables before extraction because it yields higher returns in expeller-pressing. Most oil manufacturers try to minimize or eliminate the hexane residue that could make it into the finished product but can rarely guarantee purity in the resulting oil. Even in trace amounts, the compound can cause sleepiness, nausea, and headaches. Chronic hexane inhalation, which can occur when the oil is heated, may also result in cramping and muscle weakness or deterioration. Thankfully, these effects often go away after exposure ends, but they are nevertheless off-putting to many people. 
  • Refined vs. Unrefined—Refined oils have gone through processing to reduce flavor and odor. Unrefined oils are less processed and are often higher quality, but they go rancid more quickly. Using the refined version of an oil may also let you enjoy oils that you find you dislike the smell of in their unrefined form. 
  • Therapeutic grade / aromatherapy grade / medicinal grade—While most commonly seen applied to essential oils, these terms have begun to creep into carrier oils as well. No governmental agency or generally accepted organization “grades” or “certifies” oils or essential oils with these terms, and there is no formally approved grading standard used consistently throughout the essential oil or carrier oil industry. At best these terms are confusing marketing terms, at worst deliberately misleading to justify charging more for a product that is not of certifiable higher quality. If you come across a company that uses any of these terms, look for other key indicators of their essential oil quality and attempt to assess their particular intent is behind their use of the term. 

In the above picture we poured both the Mountain Rose Herbs and NOW avocado oil into one jar. Notice how the MRH oil is heavier, fattier and stays at the bottom, while the NOW oil is lighter and stays at the top. The lack of fatty acids in the NOW oil is what causes this division. 

You can always trust that NightBlooming uses the highest quality oils. We will happily invest in our products to give you unrefined, expeller/cold pressed, organic, non-GMO, hexane-free oils so that you can use them with confidence. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Gradient Lock: Multiple Applications of Henna

When I first started hennaing, now more than 15 years ago, my hair was very, very damaged. I joked that the strengthening proprieties of henna was the only thing holding my hair together.  It really wasn't a joke.

One thing that wasn't as well known back then was that henna darkened with each application. For some, that's a blessing, for others it's a curse. Really, it's just one of the many amazing properties that henna has.

I took some lovely medium blonde hair and dyed it with our Eyes of Tamara Yemini henna. Then moved down two inches and dyed the remainder again. Then moved down another two inches and dyed the remainder a third time.  This I repeated for a total of six applications, giving me a beautiful, progressively-dyed lock that really showcased the beauty and darkening properties of henna. 

In these pictures you can see the natural blonde color go to a coppery-orange, then through Irish-setter red, and finally to a rich, deep burgundy with red highlights.

Here it is oxidizing in the company of my kitchen herb garden.

I really recommend enlarging the pictures, it shows the color so much better!

One of the other interesting things to note is that I applied each layer after the first by pinching off the bottom section of the hair in a baggie full of henna. 

Even though it was sealed, there's no hard lines. The transition is seamless and beautiful from lighter to darker. This is another great constant property of henna-- it is very forgiving when it comes to overlapping applications. 

I hope you all enjoyed the pictures! I had fun creating this very special and illustrative lock of hair. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Raven Queen's Chosen Oil Signature Blend for July

We've found that while people are interested in a custom blend for their hair, not everyone feels confident enough to pick the oils on their own. To that end, we are creating a suggested custom blend each month. You'll be able to order past blends at any time, or add or subtract oils as you prefer! These are just suggestions of ways to blend some of our many oils into our 1/2 ounce or 4 ounce custom oil blends.

You can see all of the past featured oil blends of the month in our blog:

Want each new oil delivered right to your door every month? Check out our Signature Oil Subscription Program!


In Critical Role, after Vax has been chosen as the Champion of the Raven Queen and he and Percy each pay visits to her temple, Percy gives Vax a brooch cast from a raven skull. Inside the skull is myrhh, sandalwood, opium, and dragon’s blood (Ep57, 3:33:47).

This blend captures the scent of these arcane components, blending together deep incense with a hint of poppy flowers. To purchase the 4 ounce version, use this listing:

Base Oil: Dragon's blood resin infused fractionated coconut oil
Secondary Oils: Borage, Argan
Essential Oils: Dragon's blood resin, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Ravensara , Wild Orange, Jasmine, Neroli, Patchouli

Aroma: A deep, heady incense with a crush of poppy flowers.

Application: 1-2 drops of oil in the hands and massage into damp hair. 

Detailed Ingredients:

• Coconut oil fractionated- Coconut oil is excellent as a skin moisturizer and softener. A study shows that extra virgin coconut oil is effective and safe when used as a moisturizer, with absence of adverse reactions. A study found that coconut oil helped prevent protein loss from the wet combing of hair when used for fourteen hours as a conditioner before washing the hair.

• Borage Oil- Borage is also sometimes known as starflower, and grows wildly in many parts of the world. The use of borage in various medications dates back at least to Roman times, during which several writers described the mysterious healing properties of borage leaves (steeped in wine, which may also have contributed to said ‘healing properties’.) Borage oil is extracted from the seeds of the borage plant, and its essential ingredient has been found to be gamma linolenic acid, commonly known as GLA, which is an essential fatty acids. One experiment found that skin creams which contained borage oil were markedly more effective in replenishing dry, damaged skin than those creams which contained no borage. These results have been taken as evidence that borage oil proves a replenishing effect on the skin and hair, and is able to restore moisture and elasticity where it had previously been lost.

• Argan oil, dubbed as Miracle oil; extracted from kernels of Argan fruit by crushing, is swiftly taking the place of other natural oils for hair protection and treatment. Argan oil contains tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols, carotenes, squalene, and fatty acids, making it both light and great for brittle hair. 

• Dragon's Blood Resin- Dragon’s blood is a resin produced by the rattan palm tree, Daemonorops draco. Dragon’s blood resin is often burned as incense, and its deep red pigment is used as a varnish and a dye. The resin is still used where it is powdered down and used as an ink to write spells. 

• Myrrh Essential Oil- The essential oil of Myrrh is extracted from the resin of Myrrh. Myrrh, in scientific nomenclature system, is called Commiphora Myrrha and is a native to Egypt. While the resin was in use in incenses and perfumes in ancient Egypt, the oil obtained from it was used for healings wounds in ancient Greece. Myrrh is an antimicrobial and astringent oil. It also helps promote circulation and soothes skin diseases such as eczema, ringworm, itches etc. 

• Sandalwood Essential Oil- An anti-inflammatory with a warm woody scent, it soothes tender scalps and can help help heal eczema and psoriasis, soothe, shrink pimples and reduce dandruff.

• Ravensara Essential Oil- A slightly spicy, camphory, woody herbaceous essential oil with an awakening aroma. Ravensara is fantastic for healing bacterial scalp infections and helps clear skin blemishes. 

• Orange (Wild) Essential Oil- A zesty citrus, crisp, strong aroma, Wild Orange is cheering, refreshing, uplifting, and comforting. Orange, like all citrus fruits, plays an important role in Chinese medicine.

• Neroli Essential Oil- With its light, citrusy scent, neroli has antibacterial properties that helps keep scalps healthy. Cytophylactic, it promotes the generation of new cells and stimulates the health of those already present.

• Patchoili Essential Oil- An oil with a earthy, smoky, spicy, and musky scent, it is an astringent, fungicide, astringent and deodorant, promoting a healthy scalp free of irritations and imperfections.