Eliminate plastic from your hair care routine

By Angeliz Venter

I will start this blog post on an honest note and say that I’ve never been brand loyal to a brand for hair care and would usually just buy what is on sale or what my mom brought and doesn’t want anymore. Ironically what started bothering me when I started my sustainability journey, was the amount of plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles in my bathroom, not to mention the treatment containers! It’s at this stage that I started researching shampoo bars and came across Serein Formulas.

I think South Africans still have a long way to go on our sustainability mindsets, because the first thing that crossed my mind is the thought that a bar soap won’t clean my hair without drying it out (like a bar of dish soap we all use in our kitchen) and that I still have to buy conditioner, because at the time Serein Formulas didn’t have conditioner bars available. Luckily, fast forward a few months, my perception has completely changed and Serein Formulas added an excellent conditioner to their range!

I’ve been using their Intensive Hydration shampoo bar for a few months now and they also recently sent me their Complete Care conditioner bar, an in-shower and travel container and diatomite soap dish that I use in the shower. Let’s start with the diatomite soap dish, as all of their items, it’s ultra-stylish and minimalistic and makes me feel so much better than using the plastic containers you find in stores (that ultimately takes away the whole purpose of using bar soap to minimize your plastic usage). It’s made from diatomaceous earth, zeolite and clay. It keeps your bars dry and lasting for longer, through its strong water absorption capabilities and natural antibacterial and mildew proof properties. It is skid resistant, which prevents the bar from slipping off and falling on the tiles. I love that it is made from 100% natural materials and contains 60% diatomite.

Next up is the Serein Formulas in-shower and travel container. This would be my second favorite item from their store, besides their new conditioner bar. Again, I love this, because it’s a sustainable alternative to the plastic containers you usually find in stores, which brings plastic back into your bathroom and we don’t want that! As the diatomite soap dish, it’s very minimalistic and stylish and both bars can fit into it when you travel. One of my ultimate pet peeves are when I have to travel and take shampoo and conditioner with, because I either have to take the full bottle, buy smaller bottles that’s way overpriced, just because they are travel sized or use my reusable plastic travel containers (which is what I opted for, but it is still plastic). Now I can quickly put both bars into the container, it’s less space in my luggage and more sustainable all round! Above all of that, this container is durable, waterproof and non-flammable. It’s oil and heat resistant and very easy to clean. I love that it is 100% biodegradable after 1,5 years (keep in mind that plastic takes more than 450 years to decompose), this is due to the outer white container being made of corn starch and bamboo fiber and the inner part contains bamboo plats, this also ensures that the bars stay dry. Furthermore it is FDA approved as non-toxic and SGS heavy metal free. Lastly, the container comes in a natural Sisal bag.

Now, for the important part, the actual shampoo and conditioner! I started using the shampoo a few months ago and I absolutely loved it, firstly because of the fact that it reduces the amount of plastic in my bathroom and it is so small that I can easily travel with it. It also didn’t dry my hair out like I thought it would and it lasts longer than liquid shampoo as I would tend to just squeeze out too much and the bar shampoo prevents you from doing that, because as soon as you have enough foam you stop and just massage your scalp and hair. I start by placing the bar between my hands and creating a bit of foam I then apply the foam and the bar to my scalp and roots, just rubbing and massaging it until I have enough foam and shampoo on my hair. I’ve only tried their Intensive Hydration shampoo bar and I doubt that I would purchase or try their other types seeing that I am so satisfied with the quality of this bar. I am always swimming or doing something outside in the sun and wind, so I want to give my hair a bit of extra care.

As I’ve mentioned I recently received the conditioner bar, diatomite soap dish and the in-shower and travel container. These products were just a game changer for me and elevated their shampoo bar. The conditioner bar is absolutely amazing! It works better for me than regular conditioner that we are all used to, because it’s a blend of shea butter, mango seed butter, cocoa butter, grape seed oil, coconut oil, wheat protein, jojoba esters and vitamin E which feeds your hair and you can actually feel it! It hydrates and nourishes your hair and that is why I also use it as a treatment and just leave it in longer (around 30 minutes, which is longer than the suggested 1-2 minutes for their conditioner) and this also takes the plastic treatment jars out of your shower, bonus! I love the natural jasmine scent and it makes my hair much more manageable afterwards as I usually struggle with lots of knots and frizz. It also gives my hair a radiant shine and I can rest assured that it is achieved naturally.

Serein is derived from the word Serene, which means calm, quiet and confident. This is the feeling I received from the brand since the first time I started engaging with them and their products also radiates the same energy. Serein Formulas are definitely my go to brand for bar shampoos and conditioners and I would actually consider myself brand loyal for once! Minimalistic, classic, stylish, sustainable and the products works and feeds your hair, what more can you want?

Order online at https://sereinformulas.co.za/ and use my discount code Angeliz20 for 20% discount or on Takealot, they also offer FREE shipping on all orders over R300, so add that cute travel container to your cart!

Craving Salmon and sushi? Herbi Raw to the rescue!

By Angeliz Venter

The one thing I hear the most from pregnant women is that they miss eating raw salmon and sushi. For me I started getting those cravings even before I fell pregnant, because I watched a documentary called Seaspiracy and then immediately decided to cut out fish and seafood completely, except if it was caught by someone I knew or the occasional trout.

I found Herbi Raw on Instagram in the beginning of 2021 and begged them to stock a few stores in Johannesburg, fast forward a bit and you can now find them in Jacksons Real Food Market and hopefully a few other stores soon! I knew I had to try it, because I could satisfy my sushi cravings with vegetarian and vegan sushi, but I still missed having salmon poke bowls. I went and got a jar of Salmun, as they call this vegan salmon, and made my poke bowl. It was beyond delicious! The texture is actually very similar to salmon, which surprised me, and although the taste is a bit different, I would go so far as to say that I prefer Herbi Raw’s Salmun over regular salmon! It has more flavor and it also made me feel full and satisfied so quickly due to the fact that it is fermented.

So, what exactly is Herbi Raw Salmun? Herbi Raw was started by Tanita Boswell, with the aim to have and give people the option of having holistic health and being able to cook consciously. She regularly hosts workshops, yoga retreats and many more as part of her endeavor and through this she decided to start selling her Salmun commercially. The Herbi Raw Salmun is made of fermented and smoked carrots with capers, nori, acv, liquid smoke, herbs and oil. The first time I tasted it, I couldn’t believe that it was actually carrots!

There are so many things that I love about this brand and business, to start with the Salmun, it really makes me feel so full and satisfied and this is due to the fact that it is fermented, the downside of this is, that we can’t eat a jar fast enough and the first time it went bad in the fridge! Which is a good sign, because it shows that the ingredients are actually fresh and preservative free! Therefore I would suggest buying a small jar and not buying a week or two in advance as you might be disappointed that it went bad too quickly. Another aspect that I love about Herbi Raw is the fact that they don’t pretend to care for the environment, they actually do! Before it was available in Johannesburg, I asked if I could buy online and courier it to me and they said no as it won’t be worth the impact it would have on the environment and they would rather loose a few sales than have couriers driving up and down for a few jars… what business in 2022 is that serious about their sustainability? Tanita also keeps all the carrot off cuts that is not used and feeds them to local animals and horses, so there is no wastage as well. Their jars are also made of glass and I reuse them in multiple ways!

Herbi Raw’s Salmun is pregnancy and breastfeeding safe and I have been eating it during this pregnancy and it has contributed so much to my gut health and helping me avoid constipation, which is a common pregnancy symptom. According to a few resources, the enzymes in fermented food is actually even more beneficial during your pregnancy as it helps your body absorb more nutrients, which in turn means more nutrients for your baby. The one thing I am unsure about is eating it while breastfeeding as there is different conclusions to research out there and I want to try something first before recommending it to you. Most research say that fermented foods are needed during breastfeeding to protect the mother and reduce the risk of LM development, then there is other research stating that fermented food can contribute to colic in the breastfed baby.

If you are vegan or pregnant and scared to eat raw salmon, I definitely recommend trying Herbi Raw’s Salmun! Also have a look on their website for recipes, workshops and many more!