a rant on (black and blue) textile dye

Have you ever dyed clothes yourself with chemical textile dye? I can tell you, it’s a really messy business, toxic and it wastes lots of water. Especially with the black dye (and even more so when your plastic gloves have a hole and your hands and nails are black/grey for quite some days). Now, have you ever heard of the kids who dye and sand down your jeans? If not, take a moment for some research on the internet. Not only it’s child labour/abuse/enslavement, but also very very bad for their health. And imagine all the water pollution this process causes!

Go, buy some black or jeans-blue dye, dye one single jeans, and then think about the misery you cause to this world and its inhabitants.

That’s one of the reasons why I try to buy as many clothes as possible secondhand now. Of course sometimes I’d rather buy a brand new pair of jeans or pants, but then I ask myself why/if I need them (and if I can afford them, haha). Most of the time the answer in my head is “no, I don’t really need them”. If I really need something for a very special occasion (or in the future, when I’ll be working in a real job, when I might need some “dressy” office wear), I will buy a piece of new clothing, but I’ll try to chose a good quality with as little misery in tail as possible.

I don’t know a good solution for the whole dyeing issue now, but I’ll do some research on natural dyes when I’ll be done with moving apartments. Of course there is no natural black dye, but I’m fine with brown clothes ;) I like dyeing clothes and I like colours, but realizing all the toxins I expose other people (and myself) by this love makes me shiver. If you don’t believe me, go to a store and sniff up a cheap pair of jeans. Do you smell the chemicals? Ugh. Bleeh. The fumes give me a headache in many clothes stores.

Next time anyone tries to convert me to vegeterianism or veganism because of the “unhappy animals”, I’ll ask them where they got their clothes. Yes, it is our duty to take care of this planet and all the animals, but still I think that child abuse and contaminating this planet with toxins is worse than eating animals who lived a not-so-nice but still pretty healthy life. (Of course we shouldn’t kill animals for fun and I think it’s important to consume only a reasonable amount of meat and leather goods!)

If you have any experience with natural, non-toxic dyes, I would be more if you would share them with me!

just two weeks until moving

At the moment I’m trying to pack as much of my stuff as possible into four or five cardboard boxes, all while still living in the one room big enough to stack them. Moving out of a tiny apartment is somewhat crazy without proper planning and too much … stuff.

I know I have to get rid of things, but what about all my notes from university? I WILL need them during the next semesters, I’m pretty sure. I guess whenever I’ll find some time during the next months, I’ll start to type one folder after another into my computer, and print out the results. This way I’ll still have real paper to flip through and all, but it will take up just a quarter of the original space, because most of the time I don’t use up all the space on the pages when writing by hand, and there are so many things crossed out, double entries, you know what I mean.

But I finally started to get rid of some clothes. I already took some to an African store nearby, because I know the owners and they collect old, but wearable clothes for poor people in Ghana or so. I know that I should get rid of these long-sleeved shirts riding up all the time, I have grown a little since I got them a few years ago (a few means five or six) and my old landlady put them in the dryer once and they shrank a bit, eeks. But I love the brown and black shirts …

… and that’s the problem: We love objects (and use people) instead of using objects (and loving people).

So after the next round of washing – at the moment someone else has their clothes in the washing mashine and doesn’t feel like taking them out, I don’t like the weird people in this house! – I’ll say bye-bye to the brown shirt, and will at least think about the black ones and wear them at least once this autumn to check out whether I still feel comfortable in them. And I have to admit to myself, that my style changed a bit. I went from layering t-shirts over long sleeved shirts to shirts plus button down shirts, because it’s easier this way to put on and off a layer during the day, and it looks a little more grown up while still being comfortable ;)

Another problem on my list: books I never read! I’m a book collecting maniac, especially if they are for free or very cheap. When putting all the not-going-to-be-needed-soon books into a box to go into storage/the cellar, I found some old christian books I never found the will to read, as well as the German and English classics by Goethe, Schiller and Shakespeare. First category: I will flip through them and decide whether they are worth my time, second category: I’ll keep them, even though they stem from my “fantasy self”, they might be useful for university or just for ordinary reading purposes, as I still want to educate myself a little further!

Luckily I won’t have to move in one day like the last times, but will be able to carry stuff from apartment A to apartment B over the time of a whole week. Which means I don’t have to hire someone with a van, just my darling who promised to find a big car for us to use. I still don’t believe the furniture can be transported in an ordinary car (big cupboard!), but that’s his job now, as he told me.

So, back to the battlefield now!


no shampoo – week 2

hey there, so this is another short update about my little “experiment”.

my hair got used to the baking soda very, very quickly, and on day 6 (after not washing it at all on day 5) when my hair was a sweaty, greasy mess I was close to giving up – but after a thorough massage with a thick paste of baking soda and a second round with a more liquid mix it was fine again!

and I found a great mixture for the final rinsing – water, a bit of concentrated vinegar, and two drops each of tea tree oil and essential lemongrass oil. it’s enough for two or three rinses, and it makes the hair soft and smells really okay :)

yesterday I bought some natural hair dye, because I’ve wanted to try a light brown instead of red for quite a while, and the last round of henna was two years ago.

result: hair doesn’t look much different than before (as intended), just a little bit darker and more brown than my natural ashy-blond-brown-greyish. and I’m pretty pleased that the slight reddish-golden shimmer of my hair is still showing. that’s one more reason to love the natural stuff – it kind of interacts with one’s natural hair colour. maybe I’ll try a darker brown next time, or throw in some chestnut or walnut coloured dye, because the light brown still isn’t as warm and rich as I had hoped.

I feel a bit bad about spending money on hair products I don’t necessarily need while in other parts of the world people are dying from hunger … but then I tried to calculate how much money an average woman spends on her hair annually. well, with maybe two or three haircuts and maybe one coloration each year it sums up to at least twice or thrice the amount I spend for a box of natural hair dye every other year, and I trim the ends of my hair myself (a good pair of scissors and a simple, fine comb are a good investion, and they can be used for years!) so my long hair is a not so expensive thing, except for the lots of water I need for washing of course.

tell me, how many haircuts and/or colorations do you do each year?