Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

The posts that got away … No 4. Living water

Waterfall on middle terrace

One of the greatest delights of living on the quinta so far has been our water. Not only does it taste delicious, and refreshes in subtle ways that tap water just doesn’t (forget the Heineken!), but after a couple of weeks of using it to wash with, the difference it makes to skin and hair are also very noticeable.

I have very fine fly-away hair which, without the benefit of conditioner, rapidly turns into an impossibly tangled storks-nest type thing with random sticky-up bits when washed with chemically treated Scottish drinking water, no matter that this water is so much softer than the more calcium-rich variants further south in the UK.

And despite using only water to wash my face, in Scotland the skin requires large quantities of moisturiser to keep it from tightening, drying and flaking.

While staying on the quinta this time, I ended up using neither hair conditioner nor moisturiser. It started more by accident than design, but after a week settled into an experiment to see what would happen if I continued, using only the same natural shampoo on my hair and flannel-and-water treatment on my face as I use in Scotland.

Result? Extraordinarily smooth and soft hair and skin that need no conditioners nor creams, despite the drier dustier environment and the odd splatterings of engine oil, petrol, white spirit and the like.

If we restored the public water supply to its natural living healthy state, 90% of the cosmetics industry could potentially go out of business. Well I guess that’s not going to happen then …

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