Hair Week: Ethiopian Hair Secret

I recently read an article about Liya Kebede (an absolutely stunning Ethiopian model, mother, role model and maternal health advocate). Her hair is gorgeous, and she spoke about how she teaches her daughter to braid her hair. There's a lot of pressures on women of with Afro type hair and for their hair to look sleek, and I think all Desi people need to learn something here because we're often told we're not "fair" enough, and our hair are not "sleek" enough. Curly hair isn't deemed beautiful. Brown skin isn't attractive. I love that she's teaching her young daughter to embrace her natural hair texture and not follow blindly set Western beauty standards.

She spoke about how when she goes back to Ethiopia she gets these treatment which is a local secret where home made clarified butter (ghee) is applied to hair and leaves hair really healthy. Me being me was instantly intrigued. I'd never heard of this before. I stayed up and googled as one does. There wasn't a lot about this on the net, so I set to make my own ghee as it's not a ingredient we keep in the house. She made a point of saying that the clarified butter was organic and home made. I read a post on how to make ghee and off I went with my butter. Set it on the pan and watched in amazement as it turned into ghee. I poured my ghee into a container and took a whiff and oh my God, it smelt of gulab jamuns. Such a delicious smell. I was planning on dying my hair that day so I tested the ghee on hair treatment on Nigar and mum. Both were so impressed. Nigar felt  like she wanted to eat her hair (all her words here not mine), her hair felt smooth and silky, and easy to style. It washed out with normal shampoo as well. 

I've made another batch of ghee to use on my hair this week.
I used it on my hair and it's made my hair very soft and really really silky (a little too silky because when I curled my hair, my curls were a little limp, but that's okay). It did wash out in one shampoo (I used a sulphate free one). I left it on my hair overnight. At first I smelt like a gulab jamun and as the night moved on the smell turned pungent. It wasn't overly overpowering, but I'd recommend to only leave on for a few hours.

How to make ghee: 


A lump of unsalted butter (use organic if you can, I didn't have any)
A saucepan
A container to store your ghee in 
{This whole process took me about 5 ish minutes}

Cut the butter into cubes and put in the saucepan 
Turn on a very low heat 
Watch it melt 

Slowly the butter will start to boil and separate in 2 layers: a white foamy layer on top, and  gold layer in the bottom. 

Slowly start to skim the foamy layer off with a spoon. Be careful not to burn yourself.  

A third layer will start to form at the bottom which will be darker brown. This means your ghee is now done. 

Remove all you can of the white foam, then slowly strain the gold liquid through a sieve (a metal one, I used a plastic one the second time and obviously it melted).

Pour gently and avoid pouring the darker brown into your jar. Store and use as needed. As it cools down it will turn into a more solid texture (as in the first picture)

 That's normal. Just warm it up before applying to your hair for easier application. You can also use this for cooking. 

Ever tried this nifty little hair trick? 
Intrigued enough to try it? 
Hashtag us on twitter/Instagram using #desidossierhair if you try it 

Have a great hair week.

Hair Week: Conditioner Cleansing

A lot of people don't use conditioners but could you go shampoo free?

I've recently been conditioner cleansing (about 4 months). It's basically using a cleansing conditioner (a low foaming to no foaming product) to wash your hair. It replaces your shampoo and conditioner in one step. You basically apply the cleansing conditioner and massage really well into your scalp and hair. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then rinse to reveal silky soft hair.

It probably sounds super gross to those of you who love your bubbles, but it cleanses really gently and effectively. As I mostly wash my hair every 7 ish days I am a good judge of how well a product cleanses your hair. If you have really processed or curly/frizzy hair, then you would notice even more of a difference. It does not dry your hair out and even leaves my hair feeling the lightest it has ever felt. I have a lot of hair so for something to make my hair feeling super light is a big feat. 

Traditional shampoos are satanic. We strip our hair of all moisture and then complain we have dry/frizzy/dull/crappy/no locks. Cleansing conditioners lifts surface dirt and impurities gently, mostly by using plant based oils to break down crap. 

The 2 that I have tried (super impressed by both): 

Grow Gorgeous Cleansing Conditioner : The first one I tried and it was instant love. So much so that I went and bought a second bottle to take home (I was at uni when I first tried it).It foams a tiny bit. It leaves hair cleansed, soft, shiny, super light, and smells great. I actually won't be repurchasing this because it's expensive for the amount you get (£17.99 for 190 ml), and I have to use a fair bit on my long hair. However in comparison to other cleansing conditioners on the market it is one of the lower priced ones. If money isn't an issue, then buy it. It's nothing short of amazing. Love Love Love. 

Palmer's Olive Oil Formula Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner: I tried this in a bid to find a cheaper cleansing conditioner. This is a nice product. It's not as luxurious at the Grow Gorgeous one (in terms of scent, packaging and texture), but that's reflected in the price. It does a similar job. There's absolutely no lather in this one. Give this a try if you want to try conditioner cleansing but don't want to invest a lot of money. 

I really want to try the L'oreal Evercreme Cleansing Conditioner, but that's not available in the UK :( 

Since cleansing conditioners barely lather, you're forced to really work the product into your scalp, effectively massaging it more than you would with a foaming shampoo. This is think is great and makes you clean better and stimulating your scalp more (great for encouraging hair growth, and promoting scalp health). It feels like those massages you're given at the hair dressers. Double win. 

How I incorporate conditioner cleansing in my routine: 

I oil my hair pretty much every single time I wash my hair but sometimes I have to have an impromptu shower. So I'll conditioner cleanse then. Or if I have to shower a few times during the week, e.g. this week I'll have to wash my hair twice (once to do a hair treatment, and second time in preparation for a wedding). It's not strong enough to remove oil from your hair if you have oiled it prior to your shower. I really enjoy conditioner cleansing, and it's something I'll be doing regularly.

However even though it replaces shampoo and conditioner, it does take me longer to wash with cleansing conditioners because you have to leave the product in there for about 5 minutes. I can shampoo and condition in about 3 mins. It's not faster but if you wash your hair regularly then it's a great product as they're really gentle and designed for daily use. My other half is a gym bunny and he showers and washes his hair every day (really not great for your hair). He uses cleansing conditioners regularly since I've bought them and he has noticed a reduction in his hair fall. He switches between the cleansing conditioner and sulphate free shampoos (click here for a list of my favourite sulphate free shampoos). 

Have you ever conditioner cleansed? Does the whole no foaming at all thing sound weird? Are you curious enough to try it? Let me know you're thoughts in the comments. 

Have a good hair week :) 

Hair Week: Favourite shampoos: Sulphates and Sulphate-Free

We're a bit divided in the Desi Dossier household; I'm firmly planted in the sulphate free camp (along with the hubby) and Nigar isn't that fussed. Mum switches camp depending on her mood. Dad uses a soap, but we don't talk about that.

*This post is co-written by me and Nigar


Current hair colour and length, 4 days post wash (August 2014)

The deal with sulphates: 

There are many types; most common is Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS), others include anything that ends with the word sulphates (except a few like sodium-coco sulphate, made from coconut oil). 

Sulphates are what causes shampoos/facial washes/body washes to "foam" and have bubbles. We associate bubbles with cleaning and let's face it, we love bubbles! It's a surfactant, cleans well and dirt cheap. 

So what's my problem with them? 

Well on your face they alter your skin's pH (read my little rant here in my skin diaries) and causes all kind of havocs. 

On your scalp, it dehydrates your scalp, is really harsh, dries hair out, and can cause hair loss. They can also make your hair look really dull, feel heavy (due to silicone in the shampoo/conditioner) and fade hair colour if you have dyed your hair. As a result hair is lacklustre and limp. 

Before I switched to suphate free shampoos, I still had good hair. It's genetics yo. I am blessed and the fact that I used to regularly oiled my hair helped to combat the dull/dry hair that sulphates can cause.

I've been sulphate free for about 4 years now I think, and every time I've tried a sulphate shampoo in between I've hated it (there are a few "normal" shampoos I would use though If I had no access to sulphate free ones for some hypothetical reasons; see list below).

 I jumped on the bandwagon because I read a lot about the miracles of going sulphate free. I'm always constantly striving towards a more "natural" state so it was pretty normal for me to try it out. Since then my good hair is even better, longer, thicker, and easier to not wash as often. I now also use a cleansing conditioner so for some washes I don't even shampoo (more on that tomorrow). 

My favourite sulphate free shampoos (As many sulphate free shampoos use coco sulphates as an alternative, if it's free of the bad sulphates -e.g. SLS it WILL say sulphate free on the packaging): 

L'Oreal Sulphate free Range: I've flirted with the entire range and my absolute favourite is the Ever Riche Shampoo and Conditioner. This is the best affordable sulphate free shampoo I've used. I've been repurchasing this since it launched and it's just amazing. It lathers well and smells nice. Also leaves my hair clean, light, soft and silky.
(They have something called the Ever Riche Absolute Oil Precieux- fancy- meaning Precious oil, except when I read the ingredients there wasn't anything precious in there.....damn marketing)

Organix:  I don't love the Organix shampoos as much as the L'oreal ones but they are nice. I enjoy using them and they have really really amazing scents. A very decent lather. 
Personal favourites include the Argan oil of Moroccan range, Macademia oil range, Cherry blossom ginseng range and the Awapuhi ginger range. They used to do a vanilla range that smelt exactly of creme brulee before but it has been discontinued :( 

Liz Earle Shampoos are amazing. They foam the least out of the ones mentioned here, but foaming isn't indicative of cleaning power. It's also the most expensive of the lot coming in at £8 for 200 ml. It's luxurious and cleans really well, with a mild scent. 

Soap and Glory: This smells delicious, leaves your hair feeling light, the packaging is fun. There's no sulphates in the ingredients however this shampoo doesn't say sulphate free on it. I have emailed the company to ask them to clarify on this and will update if I get a response.  

There are way more sulphate free shampoos available but mostly from higher end brands and I refuse to pay double figures for them. Most of them are priced in the £20 ranges and upwards. At that price, it better be drying dry my hair and style it for me too. 

The only Sulphate shampoos I like: 

Anything from the L'Oreal Elvive Range 

Prior to being sulphate free  all I used were L'Oreal shampoos and conditioners. I have pretty much tried everything on the market but nothing ever did anything for me. 

If you have thin hair try out their Fibrology range. I tried it out recently and it made my hair even bigger. Love. 

My old time favourite is Nutri-Gloss (the pink one). 

I hate Herbal Essences as they used to dry my hair out. I hate Aussie Shampoos (Nigar likes them), I hate Pantene, I hate Sunsilk and I hate VO5. 


Current hair colour and length; rocking my Gryffindor Top as well as my mop of hair.

I have to deal with hair fall out regardless what shampoo I use. For me, the majority of my fallout occurs when I'm washing out my conditioner, but the intensity varies depending on how recently I oiled it. Im not too fussed about sulfates, but I'm also not too fussed about shampoos. I haven't found one that I would stay loyal too, but there are ones that I always go back to once in a while.

Loreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil ShampooNourishing Shampoo For Dry Hair. I've been using this for around 3 weeks, and I fell in love. It made my hair so soft and manageable after the first wash that my blow dry went from a frizzy mess to sleek and shiny. I do feel how ever that my hair has gotten used to it, and that amazingness isn't quite as obvious anymore. It smells very manly, which is a smell I quite like in a shampoo. 

 It contains flower oil extracts from Rose, Chamomile, Flax, Lotus, Tiara and Sunflower. 
This contains sulfates, but as Kay said, I'm not too fussed.

Hair post wash and blow dry with L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil Shampoo

Aussie: There are a few shampoos that I've tried from the Aussie haircare range, but the one main one for me is the luscious long line. I adore the scents of this shampoo. It doesn't exactly do miracles for my hair, but it doesn't harm it either. This is one shampoo that I always come back to after doing my rounds of trying out new shampoos. I started using this back when I was still in school- around 8/9 years ago. 

L'Oreal Sulphate free Range: I also like this shampoo. I first tried it when Kay bought it home, and I found it nice. Again, not in love it with it, but I have bought it a few times when I've felt the urge to go sulfate-free. Living with Kayennat makes you doubt yourself; when she can go 7 days without washing her hair and I can only go 2/3 before my greasy hair gives me a headache. 

Now for real, no shampoo list of mine if complete without the Bleach London Silver Shampoo. This helps keep my blonde dead ends lovely and brass-free, and makes the process of killing my hair worth it. If you guys have ombre hair, or even blonde hair, or highlights, here's my guide to managing ombre hair- all based on my experiences. 

Share your thoughts/feelings/opinions/woes in the comments below. We don't bite. Promise! 

What's your favourite shampoo? 

Hair Diaries: A little hair chat

Haven't talked about hair for a little while so thought might as well :)

I have a burning desire to have ginger copper hair so I've started the process. Dyed my hair this copper shade last week. Waiting to see how it fairs in a few washes so I can decide if I want to go lighter and by how much. My hair always lightens after a few washes and as I haven't washed my hair since dying it I don't know what the colour truly looks like yet. Looks pretty dark but with a reddish tint right now. If you dye your hair and it appears darker than the colour on the box, don't panic and be patient. Give it a couple of weeks to show the true colour before deciding what to do. I do want a copper shade with some highlights through it. As I'm writing this I now want to have an iced chocolate colour. Urgh. 

 I do require 2 boxes of dye. The woes of long hair
Obviously my hair colour looks nothing like the box right now as my hair was pretty dark to begin with
When it comes to hair dyes I am a L'oreal girl through and through. I've tried pretty much every at home hair dye kit out there and none have ever done what it's supposed to do (to my hair). I always have great results with the L'oreal ones (minus the Sublime Mousse, which I thought was pants on my hair, absolute pants). Plus I love the conditioner it comes with. You are supposed to use to once a week for 6 weeks post hair dying but I use the entire tube when I wash out the hair dye. It leaves hair so soft and silky. The hair dye smells strongly of ammonia, which I think is good because then I know it's strong enough to change the colour of my hair, but obviously if you're really sensitive to scents then be aware.

L'oreal Preference Extreme Platinum is what we use to ombre Nigar's hair if you guys were interested. We've used it a few times and her hair is till going strong.

I think next week is going to a hair week on the blog. I'll be posting my current hair oil mix, favourite shampoos, co-washing, and an Ethiopian hair secret for soft, luscious locks. If I get a chance to take photos I'll probably do a post on my hair everyday, just to share the greatness that is of not washing your hair too much!

Do you have any request for hair related woes? Am working on a huge hair post( *in my head *) and any requests for what bothers you most about your hair is most welcomed. Or if you have a great hair weapon do share that as well.

Food Diaries: Flan/ Cream Caramel/ Caramel Pudding

Warning: This recipe is not healthy whatsoever. And it's totally worth it. Pure indulgence. And dead simple to make. No actual cooking required. There's some sugar melting to be done to make the caramel. That's about it. 


1 can evaporated milk (410 g) 
1/2 can condensed milk (approx 200 g)
5 yolks (the yellow part of the egg) 
1 egg (both yolk and egg white) 
Some sugar for the caramel 
Aluminium foil containers (the ones I use are L 12cm x W 10cm x D 4cm) 
A steamer to make it all in 

Break your eggs (5) and separate the yolk from the white (you can keep the egg whites for later use if you like meringues). I use my hands to separate them. If you don't like touching eggs you can use an egg separator or get someone else to do it for you.  Add 1 full egg.

 Pour your can of evaporated milk in 

and half the can of condensed milk.

 Lightly whisk by hand until everything is combined.

You can taste it at this point if you don't mind raw eggs 

 Make your caramel (melt the sugar over a soft heat)

[ If you don't know how to make caramel read this here. ]

... and pour into your foil containers. 

Spread it around by twirling the container around. If you miss a spot or 2 don't worry, the caramel will spread everywhere while it's cooking. DO NOT touch the caramel with your skin. It burns. A LOT. I once dipped my finger in because I wanted to taste the hot caramel. 

Pour in your mixture. You get 3 small flans out of these. Double the recipe to make 6 if you need. Each flan can easily serve one. You wouldn't want to share these. 

Place the cover over the foil and seal. Put in the steamer and cook for 20-25 mins. You can use a stove steamer as well.

You can check if it's cooked by taking one out and opening it. Place a knife in it and pull it out. It should come out clear if it's cooked.  

Place in the fridge to chill. Serve. They are so good. Like so so good. 
I wish I could take credit for this recipe but I can't. My mother's friend showed me how to make these and I couldn't believe how easy the were to make. They are the best tasting flan I've ever eaten hands-down. 
I worked out the calories for this one....The entire recipe is 1713 kcal and each flan is 571 kcal. You can always have half if you are a calorie counting diet. But this is worth it in my honest opinion. You want to eat the whole thing. 

Make these and let me know? 
You'll thank me :D 

Beard Oil

I think by now most of our regulars know we love oil. We've recently launched a product for those of you who either have a manly beard, or have manly men in your lives. 

Theres nothing worse than having someone with an itchy beard rub this chin on your skin, Im sure. I don't know cause no one loves me, but Im guessing. So we've made this beard oil to help soften thy beard as well as the skin, making it more manageable, strokable and healthy. It also promotes healthy facial hair growth and will prevent "itchy" beard complex. 
We're selling through Etsy, both local and worldwide at £10, with p&p on top.  

Its 100% natural, organic and cold pressed. There are two varieties at the moment;
Use Naked if you have very sensitive skin, or 
Citrus for a burst of freshness [Fragranced with essential oils.]

They are Handmade on order, and are supplied in dark glass bottles to prevent oxidation from light. Supplied with a pipette for easy and precise dispensing.

Yes, totally self promoting here, but its all good! 
It makes a great present for guys, so even if you don't have a beard, you can still get one for a guy who does! 

Re-Liebster Award'ed

We got re-tagged for the Liebster Award! This time by the lovely Mackenzee Lightwood. Do make sure to check out her blog! As we've recently done this tag, we're not going to tag anyone, but please do answer Mackenzee's questions and post them for us to see! So here goes!

Why did you start blogging?

N: I’ve always loved the watching YouTubers and bloggers. Mixed with my love for all things beauty and fashion, it was really a question of when rather than why. Kay just kinda came out with it one day and was like, let’s make a blog! And Voila!

K: Always wanted to, but something kept preventing me. I had my first blog page for about 4 years I think before I published something (even then it took my sister doing the first post to push me into it). 

Where are you from in the world? Do you love it? Hate it?

N: We’re from Mauritius. We were both born there, as was all our family, and moved to England in 1996. I like Mauritius, but it has its pros and cons. It’s a beautiful place, filled with culture and food and music and colours and beautiful sandy beaches. But most of these, if you’re a tourist. I’ve never sat on a public beach and thought, wow. The loveliest of beaches are kept for the privacy of the hotels that dot the shoreline. We’ve promised to go as tourists the next time we go so we can full enjoy it.

K: Mauritius; love the place, hate the people (obviously over generalising here but if you're from there then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about) 

What are 3 things you cannot live without?

N: Glasses, a game/book of some sort, fizzy drink  has changed since I have no cut down DRASTICALLY my intake of fizzy drink., someone to talk to

K: glasses/contacts (I have poor eyesight, I do prefer contacts as glasses are a bit limiting. Try exercising in glasses and your nose is sweaty and your glasses keep falling off), books (I can't imagine my life without reading, I would be such a different -ignorant and stupid person without books) and oils (any natural oils, they're my ultimate beauty weapons). 

Where do you see yourself in 1 year?

N: Hopefully with a decent job in marketing or PR or maybe making something more out of this blog.

K: On holiday from uni having successfully passed my 3rd year, super fit, and less resentful. I hold on to anger like it's going out of fashion. Learning to let it all go.  

Who are your celebrity icons/crushes? Why?

N: So many! From the West; I love Ben Barnes, Joe Manganiello, Dwayne Johnson, Selena Gomez, many more I can’t remember … From the East; Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Rainie Yang, Mike He, again, more, but I can't remember :D

K: Sonam Kapoor, Fan Bing Bing, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Iza Goulart (have you guys seen her body, *jaw drops*) 

What are your favourite type of blog posts to read?

N: I love beauty posts. Both hair and makeup.

K: I enjoy all kinds of posts really, as long as it's well written. 

Is there one post of yours that you are particularly proud of? Why?

N: My earring post. It might not one of our popular posts, but it’s the one I’m most proud of. It was one of those posts that just came naturally, and because it was all my experiences, it flowed easily.

K: I like all my posts, if I didn't like a post I don't post it or write it. If I feel like I have nothing to say then I say nothing at all (I don't blog for the sake of it). I do love my recent skincare post that I did. I am really passionate about hair and skin and I find that when you talk about something that you have a passion for then the quality of the posts are better. 

If you could live the life of someone for a day who would it be?

N: I wouldn’t. Being someone else, literally, or even just trying to be, is just not what I live by. I believe that you should be the best version of you that you can be. Really not trying to be a spoilt sport, but I can’t answer this as I’ve never thought about it.

K: I'm going to agree with Nigar here. We think it's easier to be in someone else's shoes but we never truly know what demons they're battling against. And I've never thought about it either. It's not just one of those things. If you asked who's wardrobe would I like then that would be easy ;) (Sonam Kapoor btw lol). 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why?

N: erm, see Kay's answer for this one.

K: My answer is not an actual country really but more of what I'd like to have there; hot weather, intense showers, friendly people, farmer's markets, lively area, fresh air, maybe near a beach or up in the mountains, open floor spaces, high ceilings and near my family. I'd like to have a really organic life. 

Favourite colours;

N: Red, white, black

K: Don't have one....(I had to ask Nigar if I had a favourite colour just to be sure lol, she said I didn't) 

Have you travelled before? Where?

N: Mauritius, India, Switzerland (Zurich), Morocco (Marrakesh), Isle of Wight, Wales

K: Paris, Marrakech, Dubai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Mauritius, Zurich, Rome, Sicily, Wales, (I think that's all). I really do want to travel more. I always envisioned myself as a hippie when I was younger.

I do hope you guys enjoyed this, and that you'll take part and answer!
Have a good day,
Nigar & Kayennat