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Scientists create hair dyes from Ribena blackcurrant skins

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Ribena: Good for thirst, and your hair

Blackcurrant skins left over in the production of Ribena have been used to create a new type of hair dye.

Scientists at the University of Leeds developed the new technique by extracting natural colouring from the waste skins.

Colour chemist Richard Blackburn said the aim was to create a more natural alternative to existing products.

“Because of issues and concerns around conventional dyes, we wanted to develop biodegradable alternatives that minimise potential risks to health and offer consumers a different option,” he said.

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Blackcurrant skins contain high concentrations of anthocyanins – pigments that provide colour to many berries, flowers, fruits and vegetables.

“They are non-toxic, water soluble and responsible for pink, red, purple, violet and blue colours, and are widely used as natural food colourants all over the world,” Dr Blackburn said.

“We knew they bound strongly with proteins – hair is a protein – so we thought if we could find an appropriate source of these natural colours, we might be able to dye hair.”

Patented technology developed by the scientists enables the pigment to be extracted from the fruit to provide intense red, purple and blue colours on hair.

Further colours can be created – including brown tones – by mixing the blackcurrant pigment with natural yellow.

The colours are expected to last for at least 12 washes, similar to other semi-permanent dyes on the market, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Dr Blackburn said the berries “represent a sustainable supply of raw material because of how much blackcurrant cordial we drink”.

Researchers are commercialising the groundbreaking technology through a University of Leeds spin-out company, Keracol Limited, under the brand Dr Craft.

There have been concerns over whether ingredients in common synthetic hair dyes can cause cancer, and their effects on the environment are unknown.

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The Traditional African Man and Romance

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Romance in marriage is like the gentle breeze that fans the embers of a camplight fire bringing tiny sparks of flames here and there. The west has provided it’s version of romance and this wave has swept across other parts of the world and of course in Africa. 

We see a handful of Millenials and the Gen Z’ers play out romance sequences that could have been straight out of a Mills and Boons story BUT… If we are totally honest with ourselves, these do not represent the whole rather they are a very small cross-section making us ask the question “How do the rest express themselves”. We grew up in Africa seeing our parents play out a script on romance that was lack-lustre and bland. This was picked up by many and it has become their default mode when the camera’s aren’t flicking, friends aren’t watching or it’s not for social media.

Below is an excerpt i stumbled upon and had to include it into my post because it perfectly explained the default state of romance in Africa.

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Many marriages are just for sleeping and waking up, raising kids and ageing together till death comes. This is not right. Marriage must be enjoyable and romantic.
1.Many couples hardly kiss and they only hug each other when they receive good news.
2. The husband only puts food in his wife’s mouth only when she is terminally ill and cant feed herself.
3. If you see a man opening car door for his wife means the door is faulty.
4. The only thing that makes an african man touch his wife’s neck is when she complains of fever. He wont touch it again till the next fever.
5.The only time he can carry his wife on his arms is when she is in labour.
6. If you see them seated outside at night, dont think they are romantic. They are only waiting for the smell of insecticide to vanish.
7.Many wives buy gifts for their husbands only when they are hospitalized.
8.The only time they race together is when there is danger and everyone is running.
9.The only time they go for evening stroll is when they want to go and lay a complain to the parents of the person that beat their child or got their daughter pregnant.
10. The only time they bath together is when both are late for work.
11. The only time a wife looks closely to her husband’s eyes is when he complains of dirt in his eyes.
Unfortunately, Africans feel that any romantic man is being controlled by his wife. They will begin to spread bad rumours. Let us just change today for the better. Let us learn to love one another and enjoy the few days we have on earth together.
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On a closing note, i believe things would play out better for couples if men could become a bit more humane, women, drop a bit of the ultra-feminism and let’s enjoy ourselves as couples (ie married couples).

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Food & Cuisine

Ultimate Baker releases sugar substitute for diabetics

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Ultimate_Baker_Xylitol_Blue

Ultimate Baker has released a new naturally-coloured xylitol sugar substitute created specifically for the diabetic market.



Ultimate Baker Xylitol is made purely with natural ingredients from fruit and vegetables, and the company claims that xylitol almost perfectly mimics the natural sweetness of sugar, while having 40% fewer calories.

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Xylitol carries a glycaemia index rating of 7, compared to the 60–70 rating carried by normal sugar, and this means that xylitol does not spike blood sugar or insulin.

Figures provided by the company claim that approximately 100 people in the US suffer from diabetes or prediabetes, and this has made the development of products tailored to diabetics crucial.

Sue-Ellen Cutler, vice-president of new product development at Ultimate Baker said: “Our goal is to create high quality products that are both visually appealing while free of the harmful synthetics and preservatives which are dominant across the baking industry.

“Xylitol is a product we’re just as proud to serve our families as we would all of our customers.”

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