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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

How to Choose the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers

Fine mesh strainers are used for many different types of cooking, baking and food preparation tasks, from sifting powdered dry ingredients for baking or garnishing baked goods to straining sauces and custards, rinsing uncooked rice, quinoa or beans, and draining pots of cooked pasta. 

When the sieves I inherited from my mom that had served us both for decades eventually needed to be replaced, shopping for replacements turned out to be more challenging than I could have anticipated. 

In this review, I'll share my advice on how to choose the best fine mesh kitchen strainers for your needs as well as my product reviews for the fine mesh sieves I purchased nearly five years ago and recommend highly.

How to Pick the Best Fine Mesh Strainers for Your Needs: 3 Pro Shopping Tips
Learn how to be a savvy consumer when shopping for fine mesh kitchen strainers.

3 Pro Shopping Tips for Choosing the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers for Your Needs.


Think About How You Will Be Using Them.

When shopping for fine mesh strainers, the best choice will depend on what you want to use them for. The ideal diameter, depth, handle, weight balance, durability, wire mesh size and stiffness will be very different for mesh sieves used primarily for sifting cocoa powder, flour or powdered sugar than for those used mainly for straining fresh raspberry seeds or draining a large quantity of just-cooked pasta. 

So, before you start researching or shopping for new fine mesh sieves, take a few minutes to think about the types of tasks you want, need and expect your new strainers to perform well.

Consider the Most Important Product Features and Characteristics for Your Specific Uses. 

Once you have made a list of the things you want to use your new strainer(s) for, it's time to educate yourself about the different types of materials, construction, mesh fineness, and other options available in models at different price points and think about which ones might be best suited to your needs, priorities and budget. 

For example, if you are shopping for a small strainer for steeping loose tea in a cup or travel mug, an inexpensive model made of a very finely woven nylon mesh material might do the best job of filtering out the tea leaves. On the other hand, if you also want to be able to sift or dust small amounts of cocoa powder or confectioners sugar, you might decide to go with a more expensive, stainless steel model that has a stiffer wire mesh and a slightly looser weave, the tradeoff being that it wouldn't be quite as effective at filtering out the small, powdery bits of tea leaf. 

Similarly, having a comfortable, contoured, riveted handle (and preferably two) may be a priority if you are looking for a large-capacity, heavy-duty strainer, but a thinner, flatter handle attached with spot welding might be fine if you only need a small or medium size strainer for lighter-duty tasks.

Stay Focused on Your Needs As You Compare Fine Mesh Strainers and Read Product Reviews.

Whether a review is positive or negative, consider the author's praise or complaints in the context of your own needs and priorities. Also keep an eye out for negative fine mesh strainer reviews based on inappropriate assumptions or unreasonable expectations. 

Reviews by reputable industry experts can be extremely valuable, but it's important to consider how well the reviewers' evaluation and rating criteria match for your own needs, preferences and intended uses for the product. 

I learned this firsthand at the beginning of 2017. A few weeks after I bought a Cuisinart set of small, medium and large strainers that I wanted just for the two smaller sizes, Cook's Illustrated published a fine mesh strainers equipment review (subscription required) that rated the Cuisinart set as "not recommended." Since I trust and respect the America's Test Kitchen staff's opinions, I was dismayed by the low rating for the set I had just bought. However, when I looked at the reviewers' product selection criteria and the performance tests they had devised, I saw that many of the features, specifications and use cases they had focused on (e.g., approximately 9" diameter, stiff, extremely fine wire mesh baskets, handles that were comfortable to hold over an extended period of time, long, wide hooks that fit easily over both medium and large pots and bowls) weren't relevant to the small and medium Cuisinart strainers or the types of tasks for which I had chosen that set. 

On the other hand, those criteria and tests were extremely relevant to my needs and wants for the much sturdier Kukpo 9-inch strainer I had purchased to complement the small and medium sized Cuisinart sieves. If that Cook's Illustrated equipment review had been published one month sooner, I might have had second thoughts about buying my $14 Kukpo, despite the $45 price tag of the only "highly recommended" model, the Rösle 7.9-inch Stainless Steel Round Handle Kitchen Strainer

So, keep your own needs in mind as you are reading fine mesh strainer reviews and looking at product features and specifications. Also, remember that no strainer can do every job equally well and be open to the possibility that investing in more than one might be your best bet, depending on how many things you want to use them for.  

Recommended Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainer Reviews 

Here are my personal product reviews for the best fine mesh kitchen strainers I purchased to replace the much older ones I had inherited. The ones I am recommending have been in frequent use in my kitchen for at least several years, show minimal signs of wear and continue to meet my quality and performance needs and expectations.

Kukpo Stainless Steel Double Fine Mesh Strainer Review

If you are looking for a large, versatile, affordable sieve that does a good job at a variety of kitchen tasks, the Kukpo Stainless Steel Fine Double Mesh Strainer, 9 Inch Diameter is an excellent choice.

This sturdy, inexpensive Kukpo 9-inch stainless steel fine double mesh strainer can handle most straining, sieving and sifting tasks well.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Practical size. The basket rim is 9" across and the fine wire mesh basket itself is about 8" wide at the top and 3.25" deep, large enough to easily drain a pound of cooked pasta, but not so large that it's unwieldy.
  • A versatile workhorse. If you're looking for a single, good quality, inexpensive fine mesh food strainer that performs well for most uses, I highly recommend this 9-inch Kukpo model. It's great for straining stock, sauces, yogurt, custard, frying oil and coffee grounds; separating milk solids from melted butter for clarified butter or ghee; rinsing rice, beans, lentils and grains such as quinoa; straining seeds from fresh berry purée; and sifting flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa or powdered sugar.
  • Durable construction, including two riveted handles. Unlike many fine mesh strainers, this one has no gap between the wire mesh screen and the rim/frame where bits of food residue can get stuck and be hard to remove. It also has two handles that distribute the weight more evenly and are riveted to the rim rather than spot-welded, making it more comfortable and well balanced to hold when draining a large volume of heavy food, such as cooked pasta.
  • Two layers of fine wire mesh for better strength, stiffness and filtering ability. Doubling the mesh creates a stronger, sturdier basket that holds its shape better and resists denting, despite its size, even when mashing fresh strawberries, raspberries, or confectioners sugar firmly against the mesh to strain the seeds or break up hard lumps.
  • Dishwasher safe stainless steel. I generally prefer to wash my fine mesh sieves by hand, but it's nice to be able to run them through the dishwasher occasionally to sanitize them more thoroughly. This one has an all stainless steel construction that doesn't rust, not only in my own experience but also in those of many other customers, according to their product reviews. 
  • 100% money back guarantee. Although I couldn't find any details about the terms of this guarantee, quite a few Amazon customers have raved about the company's outstanding customer service in their reviews. 

Cuisinart Set of 3 Mesh Strainers

I've found that pairing this set of three Cuisinart stainless steel strainers with the larger, sturdier, 9-inch Kukpo double mesh strainer covers all the bases for any use I can think of.

This set of three Cuisinart mesh strainers is excellent for light-duty tasks like dusting desserts with cocoa or confectioners sugar, rinsing berries and juicing lemons.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Three useful sizes. This set includes 3 1/8”, 5 ½”, and 7 7/8” diameter fine mesh sieves.
  • Great for less strenuous tasks. The two smaller sizes in this set are ideal for things like straining loose tea leaves, dusting powdered sugar or cocoa over desserts, washing a cup of fresh berries or string beans, or straining the seeds while juicing a lemon. The largest one is fine for sifting a couple of cups of dry baking ingredients and similar light-duty tasks, but the spot-welded handles and thinner wire mesh make it too delicate for heavier contents and more demanding applications that require the sturdier Kukpo strainer.
  • Surprisingly inexpensive. At the time of publication, this set of three cost less than $14 on Amazon. Even though I prefer the 9" Kukpo to the 7 7/8" strainer in the Cuisinart set, I consider that a very good value, even for just the small and medium sizes.
  • Dishwasher safe stainless steel. I haven't found a single speck of rust on any of mine after nearly five years of frequent use.
  • Limited lifetime warranty. Cuisinart offers a limited lifetime warranty for its products if you register your purchase with them. I haven't been able to find any information about what it covers for this strainer set. 

Bonus Tip: Use a Stiff, Thin-Bristled Brush to Dislodge Any Food Particles Stuck in the Fine Mesh

Whether you plan to wash your strainers by hand or in the dishwasher, I highly recommend inspecting the fine wire mesh carefully for any bits of food residue that might be stuck. It's best to wash and check the mesh as soon as possible after use, since any clogs will be much harder to dislodge if they are allowed to dry inside those tiny openings. If you need more time, just submerge the strainer in hot water and until you are able to clean and inspect it properly. 

I have found that small, dense brushes with thin, stiff bristles, like the two in the OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set, are the most effective tools for clearing stubborn food particles from the fine wire mesh. 


How to Choose the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers by Margaret Schindel


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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware Review

Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick cookware has a diamond-reinforced, black ceramic coating and textured cooking surface that make these pans the most durable, scratch-resistant, best-performing nonstick cookware I've tried — and I've tried a lot!

Image - title and photo collage for Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware review by Margaret Schindel
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

Several years ago, I began replacing our large collection of old nonstick cookware. All the pans had visible scratches in the coating after years of use, so they no longer had their nonstick qualities. I also didn't want to risk the possibility of accidentally ingesting a speck (or flake) of loosened Teflon, especially since the older Teflon coatings were manufactured with PFOA.

Since I had a lot of pans to replace (my husband and I both cook a lot!), I research the newest generation of nonstick coating options and cookware. I tried a T-Fal skillet and, later, an OXO Good Grips nonstick frying pan, both recommended by Cook's Illustrated at the time, as well as a highly-rated set of two skillets from Sur La Table, but I found they scratched too easily for my household's needs (my husband tends to be a bit hard on pans!).

Original Copper Chef Nonstick Cookware

A few years ago, my mother-in-law bought us a set of the original Copper Chef pans, after she had bought herself some and loved them. This line is now called the Copper Chef Signature Series.

The set she gave us included a shallow square 9.5" fry pan, a deep square 9.5" pan, a square basket insert for deep frying or draining pasta, a steamer insert, a square tempered glass lid that fit both pans, and a cookbook.  You can learn more about one of the original Copper Chef pans from my fellow Review This Reviews contributor Cynthia (Sylvestermouse), in her review of the original Copper Chef square fry pan.

Admittedly, I was skeptical about the quality of "As Seen on TV" nonstick cookware purchased from an infomercial. I also didn't understand the appeal of a square skillet or pan instead of the traditional round shape. However, I soon discovered how much better and more durable the ceramic nonstick cooking surface was, compared to the others I had tried. I also liked how much more surface area and capacity the square pans provided compared to round ones of the same diameter, and how much easier it was to slide a spatula under the edge of an omelet or crepe, for example.

After six or so months of heavy use, we were pleasantly surprised at how well those two nonstick pans were holding up, so we decided to expand our collection with the Copper Chef Square Fry Pan 5 Piece Set, which included an 9.5-inch square griddle pan with a glass lid, an 11" square griddle pan with a glass lid, and an 8" ridged grill pan.

Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware: Even Better Than the Original Signature Pans!

About a year later, my husband and I were confident enough in the durability of the Cerami-Tech coating and the excellent heat conductivity of the built-in stainless steel induction plates, which worked so well on our glass stovetop, to expand our collection even  more. 

That's when I discovered that the company had introduced a new, improved line: Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick cookware.

Boxed 5-piece set of stackable space-saving Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick cookware
My first Copper Chef Black Diamond 5-piece stacking non-stick cookware set
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

We chose the Copper Chef Stackable Black Diamond 5-piece Non-Stick Fry Pan Set, which comes with a 9.5" square grill pan (with grilling ridges), a 9.5" square griddle pan with the raised diamond pattern interior bottom, a 4.5-quart, 9.5" deep square pan with the same raised texture on the inside bottom, two 9.5" tempered glass square lids (which fit all three pans, as well as most of our other Copper Chef pans), and a recipe book.

View of textured interior bottoms of Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick pans in 5-piece set
Raised 3D interior texture on Black Diamond pans
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

Here are the key features that make Copper Chef's Black Diamond nonstick cookware line superior to the company's original Signature line of pots and pans.

Diamond Reinforced Ceramic Coating + 3D Textured Interior Bottom = Even Less Sticking

Not only are these pans extremely attractive, with their copper-colored exteriors and black interiors, they also are more durable, because the Cerami-Tech nonstick coating is reinforced with thousands of tiny diamond particles. In addition, the inside bottoms of the Copper Chef Black Diamond pans (except the ridged grill pans, which don't need it) have a raised, diamond pattern surface, rather than the original, totally flat surface, which enhances their nonstick performance.

Oven-Safe Coating

The deep square pan also works well as a casserole, since the pans are oven safe. Both the Cerami-Tech diamond-reinforced ceramic nonstick coating on the interior and the regular Cerami-Tech coating (the same as on the original CC pans) on the exterior of this cookware are temperature-resistant up to 850° F. The tempered glass lids, however, are only temperature-resistant up to 350° F, so make sure not to exceed that temperature or let the glass lids get too close to the heating elements. Another option is to cover your casserole with aluminum foil.

Quick and Easy Cleanup After Cooking

I highly recommend hand washing any nonstick cookware, regardless of any marketing claims that the pans are dishwasher safe. Fortunately, if you care for these pans properly, they clean up quickly and easily with just a sponge, mild liquid dish soap and hot water. Check out my helpful cleaning and care tips toward the end of this product review.

Space-Saving, Stackable Design For Convenient Storage

All three pans can be stacked, a space-saving feature we love and took advantage of until my husband finally built us a wall-mounted bar of hanging hooks for storing our growing collection of nonstick pots, pans and lids in our very small galley kitchen.

Image of 3 Copper Chef Black Diamond square nonstick pans, stacked, with lids
The pans stack compactly in this space saving cookware design
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

When the two frying pans (flat bottom and grill pan) and the deep pan (more like a saucepan or pot) are stacked, the collective dimensions, including the long handles, are 19.5" X 10 X 7.75" — not a lot of space for two frying pans and a pot, each with 25% more cooking area than round equivalents!

Not All Brands of Copper Ceramic Coated Nonstick Cookware Perform Well

As we expanded our collection, we tried pans with copper ceramic nonstick coating from a few other brands and discovered that, while they may all look similar (and, in some cases, nearly identical), the quality of some brands isn't on a par with that of Copper Chef. For example, we bought an 11" square griddle pan for my husband, who wanted it to make French toast, that looked like it matched our collection. However, it didn't have the built-in stainless steel induction plate, so it didn't heat up as quickly or evenly as our Copper Chef pans.

SHINEURI 5-piece set of nonstick saucepans and saute pan on Amazon
We love the SHINEURI 5 piece nonstick
copper cookware set we purchased
on Amazon

The good news is that we also discover some winners among the competitor brands. At the time, Copper Chef wasn't making any round pots or pans, and we wanted a set of small and medium covered nonstick saucepans to replace the ones we threw out, as well as a couple of small to medium size round skillets for making omelets and such.

I was delighted with both the quality and the appearance of the SHINEURI 5-piece nonstick copper ceramic cookware set we purchased, which has the reverse color scheme of our Copper Chef Black Diamond pans and looks terrific with them. The 1.5 quart and 2.5 quart saucepans with glass lids and the open 8" sauté pan look as though they were designed and manufactured by the same designer and factory as the original Copper Chef Signature pans. Even the slightly domed lids and hollow stainless steel handles look exactly like the original CC pans, and they also perform just as well as those, although not as well as the Black Diamond pans.

Fortunately, the Copper Chef Black Diamond line has since expanded and now includes round pots and pans.

Another high performer we purchased from a competing brand was the Home Hero 8" round nonstick skillet with glass lid, which also had the built-in stainless steel induction plate and has performed as well as our original Copper Chef pans, although it doesn't look quite as nice, in my opinion, and doesn't have the textured interior bottom or diamond-reinforced nonstick coating of the Black Diamond pans.

Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware Makes a Great Gift

We loved our 5-piece set of square Black Diamond pans so much that we bought two more sets as Christmas gifts, one for my in-laws and one for my brother. The recipients agree that these are by far the best nonstick pans they have ever owned.

Set of copper cooking utensils with silicone tips for nonstick cookware on Amazon
You can buy this gorgeous set of
copper metal and black silicone
cooking utensils on Amazon

Anyone who cooks would likely be delighted to receive a set of these good-looking, durable, well-designed, nonstick pans. As a bonus, the company's packaging is attractive and perfect for gift-giving.

If you or your gift recipients prefer round pans to square ones, this Copper Chef Black Diamond 10-piece set is another excellent choice. It comes with an 8-inch open fry pan, a 10-inch round skillet with curved sides and a tempered glass lid, a 2-quart saucepan with a glass lid, a 4.5-quart casserole pan with see-through glass lid, a roasting rack, and a nonstick-safe serving spoon and slotted spatula. My husband and I both think we'd get a lot of use out of this set, which would complement our existing pieces nicely. We plan to add these nonstick pans to our collection eventually.

Either of these Copper Chef nonstick cookware sets would make a wonderful gift for someone special — including yourself!

For an even more special gift, consider adding this set of beautiful black silicone nonstick cooking utensils with copper handles. I think they would look absolutely stunning with Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick cookware, the company's original Signature line of pans,or similar copper ceramic nonstick pans from competing brands.

I confess to being quite tempted to put these on my birthday or holiday wish list, even though I already own plenty of perfectly functional cooking utensils for nonstick pans. They're just so pretty...and they really do look as though they were custom-designed to go with the Black Diamond pans, don't they?

Care and Cleaning Tips

The manufacturer says these pans are dishwasher safe. However, I strongly recommend hand washing them, because dishwasher detergent is abrasive. (That's why drinking glasses that are washed in the dishwasher frequently will become cloudy over time; that cloudiness is caused by the abrasiveness of the detergent gradually etching the surface of the glass!)

Fortunately, hand washing these pans is a breeze if you follow these tips:

  • Don't use these pans over high heat, and don't preheat them completely empty; wipe or spray on at least a thin film of butter or oil before preheating. (This advice goes for any brand or type of nonstick cookware.)
    • Use a regular (not nonstick) pan for searing meat.
  • Use hot, soapy water and a regular cellulose sponge, a nubby silicone sponge or, my personal favorite, a Scrub-It non-scratch sponge, which has a soft microfiber cloth side and a gentle "scrubber" side that is safe for nonstick pans, as long as you don't use it to scrub them aggressively.
    • I learned the hard way that a Scotchbrite or similar scrubby sponge is too abrasive for cleaning the Cerami-Tech nonstick coating, which covers both the inside and outside of the Copper Chef pans (other than the stainless steel induction plate and handle).
  • When the pans have cooled from hot to warm, either wash them before they have fully cooled or just fill the kitchen sink with hot, soapy water and leave them them to soak until you're ready to wash them.
  • Caveat: If you want to use a steel wool pad to scour the built-in stainless steel induction plate on the bottom, take care to keep the steel wool away from the exterior Cerami-Tech nonstick coating. 
    • As you can see in the following side-by-side photo of two of our Copper Chef fry pans, my husband and I learned the hard way that if you aren't careful to keep the steel wool scouring pad only on the bare metal of the induction plate, the steel wool fibers will quickly remove the adjacent nonstick coating. 
Bottoms of original and Black Diamond Copper Chef nonstick fry pans after cleaning correctly and incorrectly
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved

Pan on the left: Original Copper Chef fry pan with repeatedly burned-on food,
cleaned with a scrubber sponge, plus overzealous scouring of the built-in
stainless steel  induction plate with a steel wool scouring pan.

Pan on the right: Copper Chef Black Diamond pan, cleaned with a regular sponge.
The stainless steel induction plate was scoured with steel wool, being extremely
careful around the edges to avoid accidentally removing the adjacent nonstick coating
.

Similarly, if you want the Cerami-Tech coating on your pans to retain its nonstick properties as long as possible, I recommend using only plastic or silicone cooking utensils designed for non-stick cookware with these pans, something Tristar, which manufactures Copper Chef and other cookware brands, also advises.

Closeup view of inside of Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick grill pan
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved
Close-up shot of the ridged interior bottom  of the nonstick grill pan

As you can see from this close-up of our grill pan, our Copper Chef Black Diamond pans — which have been in heavy, daily use for a long time now — not only still perform beautifully but also hold up remarkably well, as long as you care for them properly!

The Inexpensive, DIY Pot and Lid Storage Rack My Husband Built for Our Copper Ceramic Nonstick Cookware

When our collection of copper ceramic nonstick coated pans continued to expand, my husband — my very own MacGyver — put together an inexpensive, space-saving pot rack next to our stove, using just leftover wood strips and some coat hooks. Sadly, the beautiful, half-round, French-looking wrought iron pot rack I had purchased long ago for my Manhattan apartment doesn't work in our ranch-style home now. (Not only do we have many more pots and pans to store, but we also have only a short, narrow "mini hallway" between the stove and the side entrance to our house, which opens into our kitchen. So, our pot rack needs to be fairly flush to the wall to allow the door to open.)

One of the things I really like about his design it that, because each coat hook has an upper and a lower hook, the lids to our collection of nonstick pots and pans now have a convenient "home" for storage when they're not in use, since the glass lids can't be stacked. As you can see, it even holds our two large stainless steel mesh spatter shields!

It was meant for functionality rather than looks, but you could easily stain and varnish the wood, and even use a router to shape a scalloped edge, if you like.

Homemade wall-mounted rack for storing pots, pans and lids
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved
My clever husband's inexpensive DIY pot rack for our nonstick pans,
lids and spatter screens


Happy nonstick cooking!


Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware reviewed by Margaret Schindel

Read more of my product reviews.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Olaplex No.0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment + No.3 Hair Perfector Product Review

I have tried dozens of top-rated hair care products over the years, including pricy salon and luxury brands, that have promised to restore the appearance of my aging, dry, dull, breakage-prone hair. While many have helped to some degree, the only ones so far that have truly delivered on that promise are Olaplex N°0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment paired with Olaplex N°3 Hair Perfector. Thanks to the company’s patented bond building technology that repairs and strengthens damaged hair and improves their elasticity, using this dynamic duo just once a week prior to shampooing, conditioning, drying, and styling with my usual products has helped my tresses look nearly as smooth, shiny, soft, and frizz-free as they do after a salon visit.

Main image: Olaplex No.0 and No.3 hair repair treatment products on faux fur throw with text OLAPLEX N°0+ N°3 The Perfect Pair for Damaged Hair
This dynamic duo from Olaplex is an at-home version of the famous salon treatment

Olaplex N°0 and N°3 Have Transformed My Damaged Hair

I have always worn my hair long. In my teens and twenties, my locks were smooth, silky, and frizz-free, even in hot and humid weather. After four decades of being color treated, bleached blonde for highlights, and styled with heated styling tools, however, the cumulative damage has left my tresses dull, dry, frizzy, and prone to breakage. I also have more and more gray hair, which is coarser, drier, more brittle, and more fragile, since the scalp’s sebaceous glands slow down their production of sebum (oil) that helps keep strands from drying out around the same time the number of cells producing melanin (pigment) diminishes. 

The Olaplex N°0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment primer with Olaplex N°3 Hair Perfector made a remarkable difference in the appearance and texture of my mane after just one use, and I’m seeing even greater improvement with consistent weekly use, thanks to the cumulative repair and strengthening benefits of Olaplex’s bestselling product duo. My hair feels softer and silkier, and looks smoother and less frizzy, than it has in many years. It’s also stronger and less prone to breakage, and I’m quite happy to see fewer and fewer strands relocating from my head to my hairbrush!

The Patented, Bond-Building Molecule That Revolutionized Professional Hair Care Products and Services

Olaplex was born when the company’s founder teamed up with two UC Santa Barbara scientists, who discovered a new, single molecule, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, that works from inside hair strands. Thanks to this groundbreaking active ingredient, their proprietary, patented active chemistry allows the Olaplex professional salon treatments and companion products for at-home maintenance to work at a molecular level from within the damaged strands. Unlike traditional salon treatments and products that temporarily mask the damage, Olaplex finds and repairs broken disulphide bonds to strengthen the hair and improve elasticity. 

The Olaplex standalone treatment is a salon service that pairs the company’s two flagship, professional-use-only products (Olaplex N°1 Bond Multiplier and N°2 Bond Perfector) to repair existing damage and improve the hair’s strength and elasticity. This proprietary, patented bond building treatment repairs all types of hair damage, whether caused by chemical factors (e.g., coloring, bleaching, perms, chemical relaxers, keratin treatments), thermal factors (e.g., blow dryers, curling irons, flat irons, hot rollers), mechanical factors (e.g., brushing, friction, tugging, pulling on wet hair), or environmental factors (e.g., sunlight/UV exposure, humidity, extremely hot or cold weather conditions, pollution). 

Salons can also add Olaplex to any type of lightening, bleaching, or coloring services (or use it as a perm prep) to mitigate their damaging effects and decrease the hair’s porosity. 

Top hair salons and celebrity stylists, as well as their famous clients (including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, Drew Barrymore, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Julianne Hough, to name just a handful) have raved about Olaplex, fueling a social media buzz that turned the once-small startup from a dark horse into one of the global professional hair care market’s key players

The brand's innovative technology was so disruptive to the industry that L'Oréal, the world's largest beauty company, went so far as to essentially steal the formula for Olaplex N°1 (which contains the largest proportion of bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate) and use the stolen intellectual property to develop competing products for three of its own professional hair care brands, L'Oréal Professionnel, Redken, and Matrix! L'Oréal was found guilty of misappropriation of trade secrets and patent infringement, and Olaplex was awarded $91 million in damages. The damages awarded were later amended to $53.5 million

Close-up photo of Olaplex No.0 and Olaplex No.3 hair treatment products
Olaplex's "perfect pair" for repairing damaged hair!

N°0 + N°3: A "Lite" Consumer Version of the Professional Olaplex Standalone Treatment?

The professional products used in the Olaplex salon treatments, the N°1 Bond Multiplier and N°2 Bond Perfector, contain the highest concentrations of bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate and deliver the maximum repair and strengthening benefits. 

The products I have been using, Olaplex N°0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment and Olaplex N°3 Hair Perfector, are considered the "hero products" for at-home maintenance between salon treatments. They are sold individually and as an Olaplex N°0 and N°3 treatment kit. Both products contain significantly more bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate than any of the other consumer products (N°4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, N°5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, N°6 Bond Smoother, and N°7 Bonding Oil), which are more nice-to-haves rather than must-haves.

Olaplex introduced N°0, which it calls "a professional-inspired treatment that primes hair for deeper repair," has the highest dose of patented Olaplex technology in any of the take-home products. Designed to be used as "the first step in a two-part system with N°3 Hair Perfector," it rebuilds hair bonds, strengthens, and protects hair integrity. The N°0 "acts as an intensive repair booster, working in tandem [with N°3] to receive your most intense repair" and delivering "68% more repair & 3x stronger hair" after a single use when used together as a two-part system. According to the consumer website FAQ, "OLAPLEX technology works best when the product is wet in the hair. No.0 is a watery liquid that will dry quickly. Using No.3 over it keeps the hair damp, so both products can continue to work during the [at-home treatment] process."

Given the similarity of the product names and the characterization of N°0 as "a professional-inspired treatment that primes hair for deeper repair," I think this new primer was created to work with N°3 as a "lite" consumer version of the professional treatment, with N°0 and N°3 being used at home very similarly to the way N°1 Bond Multiplier and N°2 Bond Perfector, respectively, are used at the salon. 

Even Without a Professional Olaplex Salon Treatment, a Weekly at-Home N°0 + N°3 Two-Part Treatment Can Deliver Impressive Results

The primary purpose of doing a weekly Olaplex N°0 + N°3 two-step treatment at home may be to maintain the benefits of the professional treatments between salon visits. However, I and many others have found that even without having had an Olaplex salon treatment with the full-strength, professional products, the weekly at-home, two-step treatment can still produce unprecedented improvements in the smoothness, strength, and elasticity of our tresses. 

I would love to get the full, professional Olaplex salon treatment experience someday. In the meantime, however, I'm thrilled with how well these two consumer products perform together synergistically to repair, strengthen, de-frizz, and restore elasticity to my brittle, overstressed locks.

Note: Amazon Luxury Beauty is one of the authorized online retailer for Olaplex N°0, Olaplex N°3, and the rest of the brand's consumer products, which are also good for keeping healthy hair strong and resilient.


Olaplex No.0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment + No.3 Hair Perfector Product Review written by Margaret Schindel


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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Super Comfortable and Flattering Yoga Pants for Women

I finally discovered the joy of wearing comfortable yoga pants and workout leggings as an alternative to jeans or pants after beginning a successful ketogenic diet journey that culminated in a nearly 60–pound weight loss. After purchasing several different styles and sizes of yoga pants over the past 21 months, there have been three (so far) that I can recommend highly, each for different reasons. The pair I've chosen to feature in this product review, the IUGA high-waisted workout leggings, are by far the most comfortable yoga pants for women I've tried. 

They not only feel wonderful and are available in a choice of several, they're also flattering, even on those of us who aren't blessed with model-perfect bodies. 

Photo of IUGA yoga pants on model with superimposed text "The Most Comfortable Yoga Pants Super Soft Fabric That Doesn't Bag or Bind for a Flattering Fit
There's no bunching, bagging, or binding with these ultra-soft, ultra-comfy workout leggings! 

Yoga Pants and Workout Leggings Have Become Wardrobe Staples

The fashion experts at Vogue magazine just released this year's Vogue Wardrobe Essentials Guide. and black workout leggings are one of the editors' 34 wardrobe staples for 2021. (Who knew?)

Originally, yoga pants and workout leggings were made specifically for yoga practice and working out, respectively, and had different fabric and design features. But as they have evolved from fitness-only to fashion, those distinctions have gradually eroded, and now the terms "yoga pants" and "leggings" are often used either together or interchangeably in product descriptions.

Yoga Pants Provide Greater Comfort and Freedom of Movement Than Pants or Jeans

My first time buying a pair of yoga pants wasn't until shortly after my 65th birthday, when I began a health-driven weight loss journey and switched to a clean, ketogenic approach to eating. I completely eliminated sugars, grains, and highly processed foods from my diet, and between May 2019 and August 2020, I lost 59 pounds and went from a size 16-18 to a size 6-8. Every two to three months (even less, at the beginning), I was dropping a size, and boxing up my almost-new clothing to donate. Having to buy them again in a smaller size every few months meant limiting my clothing purchases to a few, basic wardrobe staples—underwear, jeans, black pants, shorts, and a couple of tops—until I reached my weight loss goal.

As you may have noticed, neither yoga pants nor leggings were on my initial list of wardrobe staples. I had always associated them with much younger, slimmer women and girls, with taut, toned bodies and cute figures, so they weren't even on my radar at that point! However, my attitude toward this type of clothing changed significantly once I accepted that my commitment to healthier living would require becoming more active, in addition to nourishing my body better.  

One of the most important benefits of losing weight and follow a clean, ketogenic diet was the amelioration, and eventual elimination, of the chronic, acute pain in my knees, hips, back, and feet that I had been living with for decades. Being able to go for a walk or a Segway ride with my husband  without being in agony was not just liberating, but life-changing! As I was searching online for a new, smaller pair of classic, high-waisted, basic black pants (which I wore more often than anything else I owned), I was surprised to see more high-waisted leggings and yoga pants than regular pants in the search results. It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to expand my list of wardrobe staples to include a couple of pieces of activewear, to support and encourage my efforts to make physical activity part of my new, healthy lifestyle. In fact, it might even be time for me to consider a pair of workout leggings a try.

Of course, I could wear them...but should I? Would it be possible for yoga pants to look attractive (or, at least, not unattractive) and age-appropriate, on this out-of-shape senior? I debated with myself for a while, but finally acknowledged that I couldn't see myself objectively, and decided to ask my husband what he thought, knowing he would give me his honest opinion. He encouraged me to order a pair and try them on. 

When I did, I was surprised and delighted at his reaction, which was more positive than I could have imagined! You could have knocked me down with a feather. I also was thrilled to discover how much more comfortable and less restrictive those yoga pants felt, compared to the jeans and tailored pants I had always worn, Before long, I found myself wearing them several days a week, not only for walks and Segway rides, but also for routine, everyday activities, like working, reading, cooking, or watching a movie. They quickly went from being completely off my radar to becoming a staple in my new wardrobe. 

I'm pulling my hamstring and calf muscles together as far as I can, the fabric doesn't bind or cut into them, it simply conforms to the compression I'm creating

Since that first pair, I have purchased other pairs from different brands and with slightly different features, and my IUGA high-waisted workout leggings have been the most comfortable yoga pants I've owned to date. 

What I Love Most About My IUGA High-Waisted Leggings

Ultra-Soft, Opaque Fabric

  • The first thing I noticed about these yoga pants was the extremely soft, silky, luxurious fabric, which gave these a totally different feel than any of my other leggings. The best word I can think of to describe it is "touchable," with a lovely, tactile quality similar to that of microfiber. 
  • The "non see through" fabric is completely opaque. 

Flattering Fit

  • The fiber content blends polyester for shape retention with spandex for excellent stretch and recovery, as well as abrasion-resistance.*
  • The 4-way stretch provides good compression and support. 
  • The high-waisted silhouette, seamed front and back yoke construction, and increased compression around the lower torso are designed to "contour your curves" and "pull in your tum and bum." 
  • They are made in six sizes, ranging from XS to XXL, and there's a size chart to help you determine which one will fit you best. (I followed the size chart when I ordered mine, and they fit me perfectly.)
* Note: The description on the Amazon product page states that the fiber content of these workout leggings is 80% polyester and 20% spandex. However, the fiber content printed inside my light blue IUGA yoga pants is 87% polyester and 13% spandex. Sometimes, a product's fiber content may vary slightly different from one color to another, which is one possible explanation for the discrepancy, but your guess is as good as mine.

Extremely Comfortable

  • The smooth, soft, supple polyester and spandex fabric also wicks moisture away from the body to keep you dry and comfortable while working out.
  • These yoga pants provide less compression around the the legs than around the lower torso, so they don't bind or cut into your legs, but also enough to remain conformed to your legs and prevent the fabric from bunching or sagging as you move, bend, and stretch. 

Waistband Pocket

Photo of built-in pocket in the waistband of the IUGA workout leggings/yoga pants
  • The built-in pocket is completely hidden, and remains undetectable unless or until you decide to place something inside it.
  • Although I haven't had to use it very often, I'd guess it could easily hold a couple of keys, a lip balm, and a few tissues, for example.  
    • According to the product description, "You will be able to stash your phones and keys safely." Keys? Probably. But unless your phone is quite small, I wouldn't consider the waistband pocket a secure place to stash it. 
  • Access is easy and convenient.

Excellent Quality

  • I purchased my IUGA High Waisted Leggings three months ago, and I machine wash and then hang them over a clothes drying rack to dry. After having laundered them quite a few times so far, there appears to have been no fading, pilling, or changes in the fit or performance of these yoga pants. 
  • At the time this post was published, they had more than 5,400 5-star ratings from Amazon customers.

A Choice of Colors and Lengths

  • Currently, these yoga pants come in black, dark coffee (dark brown), dark violet, dark blue, gray, light blue, pale red violet, carnation purple (lilac), maroon, and tranquil green. 
    • Note: The ones I own are the "light blue" shade. In real life, the color is a bit less aqua than it appears in the Amazon product page photos.  
  • Most of the colors (but not all) are offered in both regular and capri lengths. 

Very Affordable

  • These IUGA workout leggings retail for $24.95 and, at the time of publishing, were priced at $19.95 on Amazon with Prime free one-day shipping and free returns for Amazon Prime members.

Super Comfortable and Flattering Yoga Pants for Women review by Margaret Schindel


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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Best Loud, Easy to Read Multi-Event Digital Timers

The ThermoPro TM02 Digital Dual Kitchen Timer is the best, most intuitive, easiest to read and loudest multi-event digital kitchen timer I have owned in many years. In this product review, I will share the features my husband and I love most about this recent addition to our kitchen, as well as a few others considerations to help you decide whether the ThermoPro TM02 might also be the best multi-event digital timer for your needs. 

If you want to be able to time three dishes, activities or other events concurrently, the OXO Good Grips Triple Kitchen Timer is another excellent option, as long as you don't mind having more (and smaller) buttons and a more compressed display for the three countdown timers.

The Best Multi-Event Digital Kitchen Timers - Easy to Read Display, Loud Adjustable Volume Alarms

I often need to set timers for concurrent tasks and activities, especially during holiday cooking and baking marathons and when entertaining. A multi-event digital timer is less expensive, more convenient and more space-saving than two or three single-event models. I prefer ones with intuitive, easy-to-read controls that I can pause and restart with a touch, unlike mechanical dial units.

Digital Kitchen Timers Have Gone Down in Price, Quality, Longevity and Ease of Use 

The best timer I've ever owned was an OXO Good Grips triple digital kitchen timer that I bought roughly 20 years ago. Setting and switching between the three timers was simple and intuitive. The numbers on the backlit digital LCD screen display and the labels on the buttons were easy to read. The alarms had distinct beep patterns (single beeps, double beeps, and triple beeps for events one, two and three) that made it easy to identify which timer was going off, even when I was in a different room. This model was a workhorse that performed reliably in my kitchen for many years before the LCD display eventually started to fail (as these types of digital display screens inevitably do). 

When I went to order another one (about 10–12 years ago), I learned that the manufacturer had discontinued that model. The newer version had more bells and whistles, which I neither wanted nor needed. As a result, navigating, setting and clearing the multi-event digital timers (the unit's core functions) was less straightforward and intuitive on the redesigned OXO Good Grips triple kitchen timer versus its predecessor. Based on the many negative product reviews, I wasn't the only customer who was upset by the design and functionality changes in the newer model. 

Finding a worthy replacement has been a surprisingly challenging, time-consuming and lengthy undertaking. Unfortunately, like many other products, digital kitchen timers have declined substantially in quality. Over the past 10 years or so, every model I have purchased, regardless of price, has had to be replaced 12–18 months later, when one or two segments of the digital numbers no longer show on the LCD display. 

After the display on my second replacement multi-event timer developed a "dead spot," I decided to replace it with a pair of single-event digital kitchen timers. I had hoped that a simpler display screen might not fail as soon, which turned out to be wishful thinking. However, switching from a multi-event model to two bare-bones ones did have one benefit: Whenever the display started to fail on one of them, there was another that still worked and could tide me over until a replacement arrived.

Resuming the Search for a New Multi-Event Digital Timer, Using Updated Requirements

When the LCD display on one of our most recent basic timers developed a "dead spot" a few weeks ago, I decided to see whether any new multi-event kitchen timers had been introduced since the last time I had looked several years earlier and, if so, whether one of them might be a good fit for my husband's and my current needs, which had changed somewhat since my previous searches. 

My first step was to reevaluate, update, and reprioritize our multi-event digital timer requirements list. For example, we no longer entertain as frequently or elaborately as we used to do when we were in our thirties and forties, and our vision and hearing aren't as sharp as they were back then. These days, we would much rather have a dual event kitchen timer with larger, easy-to-read numbers than a three-event timer with a more cramped digital display and smaller numbers that are harder to read. A bright, backlit screen, loud alarms with adjustable volume, large, well spaced buttons with easy to read labels, and an intuitive interface that is simple enough to figure out (and remember) without referring back to the instruction guide or manual. 

My Favorite Easy to Read, Loud Alarm, Multi-Event Digital Timer (Two Event Countdown Timers)

ThermoPro TM02 Dual Event Digital Kitchen Timer

When I was evaluating and comparing products against our new "wish list," I was excited to find the ThermoPro TM02 Digital Kitchen Timer, which seemed to tick all our most important boxes. To my surprise, my husband became just as excited as I was when I took him through the photos, description, specifications and product reviews on Amazon. 

The ThermoPro TM02 Dual Event Digital Timer has a large, easy to read LCD display. The bright blue backlight comes on for 10 seconds when a countdown timer starts or stops and when the alarm goes off.

We have been using our new ThermoPro TM02 multi-event timer several times a day since it arrived a few weeks ago and we're both delighted with our purchase.  

Of course, only time will tell how long the LCD display will last, but we're really impressed with the thoughtfulness and attention to detail that went into this timer, so we're cautiously optimistic. 

Even when the backlight is off, the large numbers of both countdown timers are very easy to read. The front has five large buttons with high-contrast, intuitive labels. 

Why We Love It:

  • Accurate. Unfortunately, not all digital timers are!
  • Easy to read, tilted display with large digits. Unlike many of the smaller, cheaper kitchen timers we have used, the ThermoPro TM02 Dual Event Digital Timer's large, sturdy kickstand stays put and keeps the display at a good angle on the countertop for hands-free viewing. 
  • Large, bright, backlit display. The oversized* LCD display takes up most of the real estate on the front of this timer, which provides enough room for both countdown timers to have large, numbers that are easily legible even when viewed from an angle versus head-on, and even when the bright blue backlight is off.
    * The manufacturer describes it as a 2.6-inch LCD screen. Mine measures 2.375" tall by 2.125" wide and 2.875" on the diagonal. 
  • Simple, intuitive, clearly labeled controls. There are just five large, clearly labeled buttons on the front, plus one mode selector switch and the volume adjustment button on the back. 
  • Ten-second backlight conserves batteries. The blue backlight comes on any time a button is pressed, e.g., to set, start, pause, restart, or stop the timer. Since it's very bright (which is wonderful), it only stays on for 10 seconds each time, so it doesn't chew through batteries like some others we've owned.
    • Some customers have complained that the backlight doesn't stay on long enough. We haven't found that to be an issue, especially since pressing any button turns the light back on for another 10 seconds.
  • Loud alarms with adjustable volume and silent alarm/mute mode. Pressing the small volume button on the back allows you to cycle through four alarm volume settings. The low, medium and high volume levels range from 70-105 dB. We find the medium volume setting loud enough to hear from one or two rooms away. There is also a volume Off setting that mutes the alarm so you can see when the timer goes off without disturbing anyone else. 
  • Convenient memory function. After the countdown finishes, the timer automatically returns to the previous setting. For example, I make a large mug of herbal tea almost every day, and the kind I make most often steeps for seven minutes. After Timer 1 goes off and I press the Stop button, it automatically reverts to seven minutes unless I actively clear the memory, so that all I have to do is press the Start button the next day when I want to make tea. 
  • Set each countdown timer for up to 23 hours 59 minutes. Some digital timers have a maximum time limit of only 60 to 90 minutes! 
  • Choice of 12/24 hour clock format with date function. Although this feature isn't important to us, many people love it. 

A sturdy pull-out kickstand keeps the ThermoPro TM02 dual channel multi-event timer stable on your countertop, or use the two strong magnets to attach it to your refrigerator or another metal surface. A simple, three-position switch toggles between the timer, clock and clock set modes, while the small button underneath controls the adjustable volume alarm loudness settings.

Other Considerations:

  • You can't program seconds. We don't anticipate this being an issue for us. However, there are certain recipes (and other uses) for which the ability to time in 15- or 30-second increments is essential. So, if you work in a commercial or restaurant kitchen, this could be a deal-breaker. Otherwise, if you need this capability only infrequently, you can set the timer to the next full minute and monitor the digital display until there are 15 or 30 seconds remaining in the countdown (or use a countdown timer app on your mobile phone for those situations).
  • Some people find even the low volume (70dB) setting too loud. My husband and I have not found this to be the case. Your mileage may vary.
  • No dedicated "Clear" button. It's quite common for digital timers to be reset by pressing the hour and minute buttons simultaneously, rather than having a dedicated "Clear" button, and it's a practice the America's Test Kitchen reviewers said they didn't mind as long as the buttons were clearly labeled and intuitive. However, some customers still object to it. 
  • This model doesn't switch to clock mode automatically when the countdown timers are not in use. Since the clock on our microwave oven displays the time whenever we aren't microwaving something, we prefer having the display remain in countdown timer mode unless we actively switch it to clock (or clock set) mode. However, some customers have complained about having to switch from timer to clock mode manually.
  • The neodymium ("rare earth") magnets on the back are very strong, but the foam adhesive discs holding them in place are not. My husband and I prefer to keep our kitchen timers on the counter, so this isn't an issue for us. However, if you plan to keep your digital timer on your refrigerator door, one Amazon reviewer recommends prying out the magnets with a thin screwdriver or awl, completely removing the foam adhesive pads and any glue residue, and then using a strong epoxy adhesive to glue the magnets directly into the round, recessed areas in the housing. Be sure to follow the epoxy manufacturer's instructions for preparing the surfaces and applying and curing the glue.
    • Note: Customers who complain that the magnets are not strong enough are mistaken. The problem is not the neodymium magnets, which are extremely strong. It's the cheap foam adhesive discs that are too weak, and there's an easy fix for that. 

The Best Easy to Read, Loud Alarm, Multi-Event Digital Timer (Three Event Countdown Timers)

OXO Good Grips Triple Kitchen Timer

Although I still haven't found a three-event digital timer that I like as well as my old OXO Good Grips Triple Kitchen Timer, if I still needed one I would definitely go with the current version, which has gone through multiple revisions and iterations since the one I owned and loved. 

The current generation OXO Good Grips Triple Kitchen Timer was rated Highly Recommended as the best multi-event digital timer in the June 2021 Cook's Illustrated Kitchen Timers Equipment Review (subscription required). 
The OXO Good Grips Triple Kitchen Timer has a full numeric keypad and three dedicated event timer buttons.

Why You'll Love It:

  • Accurate. For us, that's a baseline requirement.
  • Upward angle and sturdy base. Designed for one-handed setting and countertop stability. 
  • Large screen with inverse backlit digital display. Easy to read at a glance, even in low light.
  • Adjustable volume. Three different loudness levels to suit your preference. 
  • Each event timer can be set for up to 99 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. I'm not sure why someone would need a 100-hour maximum time limit unless they were an NBC producer timing one of Al Roker's multi-day Rokerthons, but it's nice to have the option available.  
  • Easily identifiable event alarms. Just like my old OXO Good Grips Triple Kitchen Timer, the current model also has three distinct beeping patterns, so you can tell which event alarm is going off just by the sound, even if you are in a different room. 
  • Numeric keypad lets you set the clock and event timers faster. It also uses a numeric keypad instead of the more common -/+ buttons to set the countdown timers and clock. According to the June 2021 Cook's Illustrated Kitchen Timers Equipment Review, it took the America's Test Kitchen product testers, on average, less than half the time to set the timers on models that had full keypads than on models that did not.
  • Convenient memory function. All three event timer remember their last settings until you clear them from memory.

Other Considerations:

  • More buttons to press. The numeric keypad means you need to press more buttons to set the timers or clock (versus just two -/+ buttons to increase or decrease the time).
  • Smaller digits. Fitting three event timer displays on a smaller LCD screen than that of the ThermoPro TM02 Dual Event Kitchen Timer means "the digits on the screen are slightly smaller than ideal," as the America's Test Kitchen reviewers wrote.
  • Backlit screen display goes blank (“standby mode”) after 60 seconds. A frustrated Amazon reviewer who loved nearly everything else about this OXO Good Grips Triple Kitchen Timer called this issue a deal-breaker.


The Best Loud, Easy to Read Multi-Event Digital Timers product review by Margaret Schindel


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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Puracy Natural Dish Soap: Eco-Friendly, Effective, Made in the USA

Puracy Natural Dish Soap is an effective, safe and eco-friendly alternative to traditional dishwashing liquids whose cleaning power comes from caustic chemicals. In today's review, I'll explain why it quickly became one of my favorite cleaning products.

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2020/03/puracy-natural-dish-soap-review.html

Looking For a Safer, More Environmentally Friendly, Yet Effective Plant-Based Dish Soap

Several years ago, my husband and I started hand-washing our dishes, pots and pans more often and using our dishwasher less frequently, as part of our effort to be more environmentally responsible and less wasteful. I also wanted to find a safer, “greener” dish soap, a plant-based cleaner that could cut through grease effectively on our dishes, pots and pans without the harsh chemicals used in most popular dishwashing liquid brands, such as Palmolive, Dawn and Ajax. Many of those chemicals may be not only harmful to humans, animals and plants, but also cause chronic aquatic toxicity, poisoning our rivers, seas, oceans and water supply.

Not So Green "Green Cleaners"

The two best-known brands of plant-based cleaners at the time were Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation. I tried Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Liquid Dish Soap, which was a Whole Foods Market Eco-Scale certified green cleaning product, but stopped using it after only a week or two. In addition to the overpowering scent, which gave me a headache every time I washed the dishes, I found out that the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, had given it an “D” rating, which EWG defines as “HIGH CONCERN - Likely hazards to health or the environment.”

Next, I looked into Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid, Free & Clear, since I was familiar with the brand name and had seen numerous ads for the company's plant-powered cleaning products. The marketing was excellent and I was optimistic. Having learned my lesson, however, I decided to check out their EWG rating before trying out their product myself. The good news was that my caution paid off. The bad news was that EWG gave it a "C" rating, defined as "MODERATE CONCERN - Some potential for hazards to health or the environment. At least some ingredient disclosure."

Back to the Drawing Board

Unfortunately, neither Amazon nor any of our local stores sold the only dishwashing liquid with an  earned the EWG Verified rating, the organization's highest endorsement. So, I switched my focus to dish soaps EWG-rated “A," defined as “LOWEST CONCERN - Few/no known or suspected hazards to health or the environment. Good ingredient disclosure." Once I eliminated any product that wasn't carried by our favorite stores and or on Amazon, only a handful of potential candidates remained in the running.

After trying to learn as much as I could about the products and the companies that made them, I felt confident about my final choice.

Puracy Natural Dish Soap Checked All the Boxes

Image of Puracy Natural Dish Soap 16-oz. squirt bottle
Puracy Natural Dish Soap is safe and gentle enough
to use as an alternative to liquid hand soap, if needed.
(Don't use traditional dishwashing liquid to wash your hands!)

Highly Recommended by EWG, Business Insider and Consumers

  • Rated "A” for safety and environmental impact by EWG
  • Chosen as the best dish soap overall by Business Insider: "Puracy Natural Liquid Dish Soap is our top pick because it's effective on grease, safe for the environment, and gentle on your hands."
  • Thousands of 4- and 5-star customer reviews on their website and on Amazon

Safe for Families, Pets, and The Environment

  • No harsh chemicals, sulfates (SLS, SLES, SCS), triclosan, formaldehyde, parabens, phosphates, MEA, DEA, TEA, chlorine, bleach, petrochemicals, animal by-products, allergens, perfumes, dyes, or caustics
  • Hypoallergenic, non-toxic, gluten-free, vegan
  • BPA-free, recyclable packaging
  • Concentrated formula that requires less soap to clean more dishes
  • Cleans effectively even in areas with hard water
  • 99.5% natural ingredients, only 0.5% synthetic ingredients
  • Naturally-derived scents that, to me, smell better and are much subtler compared to other plant-based cleaners I have used
    • The Green Tea & Lime scent is my favorite, and I also love smell of the Citrus & Sea Salt. I’m looking forward to trying the Organic Lemongrass as well.
    • There is also an unscented version, Puracy Natural Dish Soap, Free & Clear, although as I write this, it is currently out-of-stock.

Made in the USA

  • All Puracy products are American made by a family-owned small business based in Austin, Texas

Trustworthy, Socially and Environmentally Responsible Company

  • Transparent marketing and product labeling
  • Gives back to the local community
    • Puracy donates a portion of the proceeds from every purchased to local families in need
    • Puracy’s packaging features original hand-drawn artwork that helps support local artists
  • Cruelty-free
    • No animal testing, certified cruelty-free by PETA and Leaping Bunny
  • 100% biodegradable formula, easy to recycle packaging
    • Bottles, pumps, sprayers, and caps made from PET(E), an inert, BPA-free plastic and the most widely recycled plastic worldwide (recycling logo #1)
    • Liquid dish soap refills packaged in eco-friendly pouches

Superb Customer Service

  • 100% money-back guarantee if you are dissatisfied with a Puracy product for any reason—no hassle, no return required, no questions asked
  • Superb, responsive, friendly customer service
    • Questions answered promptly, helpfully and courteously
    • One of the co-founders, Sean, often responds personally to customer questions on Amazon

I feel good that my purchases of Puracy's natural and safe cleaning products support a family-owned, American small business whose values are aligned with mine, and whose owners are proud and confident enough in the quality of their products to stand behind them with a no-hassle, 100% money-back guarantee if a customer isn’t a fan of one of their products, for whatever reason.

Puracy's Safe, Eco-Friendly Dish Soap Worked BETTER Than My Old Dishwashing Liquid - Without the Harsh, Toxic Chemicals! 

A Safer, Gentler, Greener Cleaner 

Puracy Natural Dish Soap’s formula is concentrated, so you need less of it compared to traditional dishwashing liquid. In my experience, it cuts through grease as well as, and maybe better than, the products with harsh, chemical-laden formulas I used years ago. And, while the lack of those harsh chemicals means it isn’t as effective at removing stubborn, burnt-on food from pots and pans, I find that adding a small squirt of Puracy liquid dish soap to the pans, filling them with very hot water and leaving them for 30-60 minutes usually is enough to loosen the food without needing to use a lot of elbow grease.

For decades, manufacturers of soaps and other cleaning products have been successfully brainwashing us that the more lather a soap produces, the more effectively it cleans. But the notion that more lather means more cleaning power simply isn’t true! If it were, how could dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent clean our dishes and clothes effectively, since both are specifically formulated not to produce lather or suds?

Yet, over many decades of misleading ad campaigns, manufacturers have psychologically manipulated consumers into believing that they can only get their dishes, pots, pans and even their hands and hair really clean by using soaps or shampoos that produce lots of lather. Of course, they fail to mention that the chemicals used to make these products lather abundantly are harsh, irritating and potentially harmful to people and animals, and potentially toxic to aquatic life.

It pains me when a reviewer occasionally complains about needing to use more Puracy Natural Dish Soap, compared to conventional brands, to produce the same amount of lather. My hope is that more consumers can become more knowledgeable about the effectiveness and safety of the ingredients in their cleaning products, as well as their effects on the environment and global ecosystem for current and future generations.

Save Money and Help Protect the Environment With Convenient 64-Ounce Refill Pouches

Image of Puracy Natural Dish Soap Refill Pouch
Puracy Dish Soap Refills:
Easy on the wallet,
easy on the environment

I bought the Puracy dishwashing liquid in a squirt bottle only once. Since then, I’ve been buying only the 64 oz. Puracy Natural Dish Soap Refills, which contain four times as much product as the 16 oz. bottles.

I really appreciate Puracy's decision to offer these large, money-saving, eco-friendly refill pouches for most of the products they make. By purchasing them and refilling my own, recycled bottle and the built-in soap dispenser at the back of the kitchen sink, my husband and I save more than 20% per ounce. Each refill pouch also saves 90% more plastic, water, and energy, compared to the equivalent amount of bottled soap (four 16-oz. bottles)!

And at a time when we're being urged to stay home as much as possible, avoid unnecessary trips to the store, and consolidate purchases as much as possible, being able to order these large refill pouches online, with free shipping for Amazon Prime members, is a great option. You can save even more with Amazon's Subscribe & Save option!

*Note: At the time of writing, the price of the 16-ounce bottles on Amazon was temporarily reduced, making the price per ounce the same for the individual bottles and the refills.


Refill Your Favorite Liquid Dish Soap Bottle or Dispenser

Like nearly all dishwashing liquids, Puracy Natural Dish Soap bottles have a squirt-type cap that must be pulled up before it will dispense the contents. Although the cap gets easier to pull up over time, both my husband and I prefer product containers that require less effort, like the pump bottles for liquid hand soap. So, after using up the squirt bottle of dish soap I bought initially, we now use the refill pouches for the built-in soap dispenser next to the kitchen sink faucet as well as a repurposed liquid soap pump bottle, since it's nice to be able to do dishes side-by-side without having to take turns accessing the dish soap.

If you're not a fan of squirt bottles, either, and don't happen to have kept an empty pump bottle you can reuse for this purpose, I suggest picking out an attractive glass soap dispenser bottle, preferably with a rust-proof or rust-resistant pump top, that you can fill with Puracy Natural Dish Soap from the 64-ounce refill pouches. I like this reasonably priced, textured glass liquid soap dispenser with a brushed nickel pump and a generous 16-ounce capacity, whose elegant but unpretentious design could complement nearly any style of kitchen decor, from contemporary to traditional, casual to formal.

Another option is a hands-free, automatic liquid soap dispenser. Most brands and models get mixed reviews and need to be used regularly and unclogged periodically, but if you're looking to take extra precautions to avoid spreading germs to other family members, you may want to consider something like the simplehuman 9 oz Liquid Soap Pump, Brushed Stainless Steel Touch-Free Sensor Dispenser, one of the better rated and more reasonably priced models from this well known, innovative product brand.

It's important to use Puracy Natural Dish Soap only in a dispenser designed for regular liquid soap, rather than in one made for foaming liquid soap formulas, which contain more water and are more dilute.





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Puracy Natural Dish Soap: A Safe, Effective and Green Dishwashing Liquid Made in the USA reviewed by:
Margaret Schindel



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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