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Friday, May 30, 2014

2:3 Herbs for Skin Health: Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis; Rosemary

  This herbacious evergreen plant hails from the Mediterranean however now can be found the globe over.  Rosemary belongs to the mint family, a family that includes other common plants such as basil, lavender, myrtle and sage.  

Rosemary in Bloom
This plant has been used for centuries for medicinal, culinary, and beauty regiem purposes. It is said that in the 13th century, Queen Elizabeth of Hungary (who had suffered from debilitating gout and rheumatism) claimed at age 72, that drinking rosemary infused water helped her regain back both her strength and beauty over the years.

Rosemarinic acid (property of rosemary) is known for it's ability to kill bacteria, fungi, and various viruses on the skins surface.  This makes it an ideal helper in wound healing, acne, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.  The extract or essential oil of rosemary as well as rosemary tea, helps stimulate cell renewal, supports healthy creation of collagen, increase skin tone and fights free radicals.  Free radicals damage the support structure of skin cells, leading to wrinkles, sagging and uneven skin texture and color.

This plant is found in many skin cleansers, soaps, masks, creams and shampoos and conditioners. It is effective for many skin types but especially for oil or acne prone skin. It improves micro circulation within the dermal layers of skin.  This means that it helps  bringing in fresh oxygenated blood filled with nutrients to all the cells.

Rosemary is also great for hair care.  When used on a regular basis, it stimulates the hair follicles, making hair grow longer and stronger.  It is also said to help slow down premature hair loss and the graying of hair. It helps improve scalp conditions such as dandruff and balances your hairs secretions of sebum (oil).

 *Like most essential oils do not apply directly to the skin.  It is better to use diluted in a carrier oil or mixed into a product.

 *1 small sized cucumber (or 1/2 a med. large) peeled and either juiced or pulverized into liquid with food processor 
 *Add 15-25 drops of rosemary essential oil
 *Add 3-4 tbs of clay (any type) kaolin white, pink, french green, cambrian blue, rhasoul
 *Allow mixture to sit for 5 or so minutes while the clay absorbs some of the moisture.
      your mixture should be that of a paste
 *Apply to facial skin for 10-15 minutes and gently remove with warm water and a wash cloth. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

1:3 Herbs for Skin Health: Calendula Officinalis

Calendula Officinalis

Parts of the Flowering Plant

This common yet lovely little flower "pot Marigold" know also as Calendula Officinalis, is native through out southwestern Asia, western Europe, and Micronesia, and the Mediterranean.  It has been cultivated world wide as an ornamental plant. Its name, Calendula, in Latin refers to "little clock" or possibly "little weather-glass". 

Calendula Officinalis
This flower has been used for skin treatments in it's native regions for centuries.  Calendula has very high amounts of flavonoids, a plant based anitoxidant that protects cells from being dammaged by free-radicals in our environment. This flower is known for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, and antifungal properties.  And is very useful for treating minor wounds, chapped and chafted skin, bruises, burns, acne, and diaper rash.  

A lesser known fact of Calendula Officinalis is that it stimulates the production of collagen at the wound site.  This helps to minimize the scarring and of regular wounds as well as with stretch marks. Because of it's ability to stimulate collagen, Calendula is also able to protect the skin from premature aging and thinning.   This plant is gentile enough to treat even the sensitive skin of infants and babies making it a very versitile plant indeed.  

Calendula Oil
Calendula is found in many beauty products, bath products, creams, salves, ointments, facial systems, tinctures and teas.  The beautiful orange/yellow color of the flower seeps into the oil turning it a lovely golden color.  

Calendula Bath:
Get a large handfull of dried/fresh flower heads 
Mix with a quarter to half dollar size amount of lavender buds (optional)
Add flowers to a simmering pot of hot water and reduce heat
Allow 10 minutes to steep in water
Add 1/4 c. Sea Salt or 1/4 to 1/2 c. epsome salts
Allow time to dissolve in water
Strain out plant material 
Pour into Bath Water and Enjoy!!!!

Have you used Calendula for skin health? Do you have photos that you would like to share of Calendula Officinalis that you have grown your self? We would love to see and hear your stories. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Vingegar: Just Another Reason to Love Apples!

To This...

From This...
How many different types of vinegar can you name?  Apple cider, balsamic, distilled, but did you also know that there is beer, cane, coconut, date, Asian black, fruit vinegars, vinegar made from job's tears, kombucha, malt, palm, raisin, rice, sherry and wine?

Historically vinegar has been used as a folk remedy for beauty (and many other things) for ages.  Vinegar for uses other than cooking, became popular in American in the early  1950's  when it was promoted by the best-selling book "Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health", by D.C. Jarvis.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar has the natural ability to make both hair and skin look it's best!  Vinegar diluted to a 1:2 ratio, vinegar:water (or 1:4 ratio if you have sensitive skin) helps dissolve excessive fatty deposits and oils on the surface of the skin and hair.  It has a tonifying property (Alpha Hydroxy Acid)  that promotes blood circulation into the small capillaries that matrix through the skin. Vinegar also helps balance the pH of your skin and hair, reduces dry patches and dandruff, strips residue build up of "product" and hard water (which dull the hairs natural shine).  Because vinegar stimulates hair follicles it also helps with hair strength and length. Rinsing with vinegar closes the cuticle scales which cover and protect the surface of each hair shaft.  This lends to a smoother surface, one that will reflect light easier, be easier to manage, less tangle, and lending an over all healthy look (and feel) to your lustrous tresses. Vinegar is rich in Alpha Hydroxy acids, this is the substance in  vinegar that makes it work it's magic!

Unfiltered and Organic

As always my recommendation is to use organic base ingredients.  In this case I would also recommend unfiltered vinegar.  Though there are a large variety of vinegars available on the market, I would recommend which ever is easiest for you to make or use. It will look something like this if it is an unfiltered variety. And apple cider vinegar is probably the most common used for skin and beauty regimes. A raw unfiltered vinegar is going to have all of it's vitamins and minerals intact, making it the best possible product for use.

If you are concerned about the smell of vinegar remember to rinse out fully and then when done with your shower add a couple of drops of essential oil (lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, rose are a few great choices). You will notice that the smell dissipates greatly once your hair is dry.

*Important: always test your skin and hairs compatibility with a lower ratio dose first.  And regardless of the dilution vinegar stings when it gets in your eyes.  Shut them tight before pouring on this awesome all natural elixir and rinse, rinse, rinse, before opening them again.

Feed Back? Comment?  Photo's? We would love to hear what you have to say about your own personal experience with vinegars for beauty.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Folded Essential Oils: What are they????

Distillation Contraption

 So last blog post we were discussing phototoxic essential oils and towards the bottom of the blog I mentioned "folded" essential oils.  Many of you are probably wondering just what a folded essential oil is.

To easily break it down, a folded essential oil is a pure essential oil that has been further distilled and thus concentrated even further from it's already highly concentrated form.  There are a couple of reasons one would want to do this, which will be explained momentarily.  Basically, during multiple  distillations the terpenes are extracted. These are the more volatile (and thus prone to oxidation) portions of the oil.  So one reason for "folding" essential oils would be to prolong the shelf life of that oil. Terpenes are also what make an oil phototoxic or photosensitising.  So further distillations also reduces many essential oils potential to harm your dermal layers (skin) when combine with ultra violet light exposure (IE: sunshine).

Folding also changes the scent of many essential oils.  Removing some of the more bitter properties of the oils leaves a cleaner, fresher, more "to the point" scent reference.  Another word for this process is deterpenation and the end product know as terpeneless oil (folded essential oils)

Essential Oil of Lemon

The most commonly "folded" essential oils are those of:
Orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime, tangerine, blood-orange, mandarin, and bergamot essential oils.
One will most often see 5-Fold or 10-Fold oils.  The higher the number the more times it has been "folded" or redistilled.

*Some people will argue that "folded" essential oils are no longer suitable for use in aromatherapy.
Even while using folded essential oils it is not recommended to use directly on skin or with only a carrier oil.  And still be mindful and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What Are Phototoxic Essential Oils?

Sun Shine
Essential Oils

So, you may be asking what are "Phototoxic" Essential Oils?  Basically, phototoxicity also known as photosensitization, occurs when certain essential oils are used either in products, carrier oils, or neat that have specific compounds within them that cause excess sun burn or damage to skin when used in conjunction with ultra violet light exposure.

The compound that ties each of the phototoxic  essential oils together is a terpene called furanocoumarin.  It is this constituent that when on the skin acts almost like a prism, bringing more ultra violet light to the skin surface.  In turn, this makes the skin much more susceptible to burning, and ultimately skin cell damage.   Furanoides are found in the leaves and seeds of many plants but as with those in the citrus family it is most commonly found in the rinds of the fruit.  Furanocoumarins help citrus fruit to ripen and maximize the sugar content in each piece of fruit.

List of Phototoxic Essential Oils:
angelica root
grapefruit (cold pressed)
lime (cold expressed not steam distilled)
orange (unless "folded")

To learn more about "folded" essential oils visit us here, next week at BEAUTIFUL YOU

Monday, February 24, 2014

Note Worthy Neem Oil

Azadirachta indica: Neem Tree

 Neem has been called The "tree of promise", this is an Indian Lilac,  a large standing tree of the mahogany family.  The Neem tree, Azadirachta indica, is native to the Indian subcontinent and has it's roots deep in historical uses of this culture.  Used both internally and externally, this tree has been used as a "cure all" in many tropical cultures throughout the world.

Immature Neem Seeds

 Every part of the Neem tree has medicinal and botanical uses; the branches, leaves, bark, fruits, flower and roots are all extreemly beneficial as they contain a compound called azadirachtin which gives this plant it's anti-septic, anti-viral,  anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic qualities.

Fresh Harvested Neem Fruit

Neem Oil is procured from the fruit of the Neem Tree. Often hand harvested, this oil has become a cash crop of the the tropics.  Since being "discoverd" by the Western culture, demand for this precious oil has sky rocked.  The oil it's self comes in an array of different colors, depending on methods of extraction and quality of how the Neem fruit has been handled.


Often times, the oils is obtained by crushing the interior kernal and extracting the oil it's self by methods of cold process or temperature controlled heating.  In India, neem oil extractors, "Teli" or oil men, were considered as a specialized profession.

 Recentally, hexane extraction has become a cheap and quick method in comparison of more traditional methods of oil extraction. It is important to note that this chemical extraction  is always an inferior oil end product.

Lets begin to talk about the oil it's self.  This oil is rich in Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids.  It also contains Palmitic acid and palmitoleic acid, the rarely known omega 7.  These acids provide building blocks for hair, skin and nails, help combat wrinkles, increase elastin in skin, help maintain hydration and helps repair sun and oxidative damage to skin cells. It is widely considered for it's anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties.

Benificial Uses of Neem for Beauty

Hair: Neem is a natural cure for dandruff and dry scalp.  Weekly applications of this oil have shown to reduce dandruff, cleanse hair folicals, strengthen individual hair strands, and promote growth.  It can also be used to condition rough or frizzy hair as well as countering the effects of thinning hair due to stress, medication, pollution and more.

Skin: Neem has proven its effectiveness with eczema, psoriasis, and acne prone skin.  Due to it's astringent properties, it helps with wound healing and skin dammage caused by the above said skin conditions. Neem helps fight acne by distroying the bacteria that causes break outs. Neem oil contains an asprin like compound that helps with on site pain relief while it's anti-inflammatory agents (nimbidin and nimbin compunds) help reduce redness and further inflammation.  The high fatty acid content in this oil helps prevent scar tissue from forming and the oil it's self is non-comedogenic (or non pour clogging).

Neem naturally has a high level of anti oxidants which protect the skin from environmental dammage.  It also contains carotenoids, an anti-oxidant, that helps defend the skin from free-radicals.  All of the vitamin and esssential fatty acid content is readily absorbed into the skin, improving elastin, and smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles. 

Neem can also be used to fight fungal infections of the skin, such as athletes foot, ring worm, nail fungus.  Tests have proven that 2 compounds found in the leaves of the neem tree, gedunin and nimbidol, are effective against 14 different cultures of fungi. 

*1 TBS: of you favorite Clay (bentonite, french green, kaolin to name a few) 
*Add 3-5 drops of neem oil 
*Add coconut oil or another liquid until the consistancy of tooth paste.  Other liquids could
        include: water, aloe vera water, hydrosol, any carrier oil of choice, milk, etc...
* Put on face in nice circluar motion and allow about 7-10 minutes to dry. 
*Rinse with warm water just before clay mask gets totally dry.  This is when the most of the 
    toxins have been pulled out and nothing is yet being taken back into the pores. 

This mask is good to use on a weekly basis, much more and skin will begin to dry out.  It is natural for our skin to produce oil and constant stripping of this natural process is less beneficial for our skin.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Secret behind Sea Buckthorn (Oil)

Hippophae rhamnoides Sea Buck Thorn
Hippophae rhamnoides, commonly known as Sea Buckthorn, gets its common name from growing near the sea and from it's many spines or thorns that are similar to that of true Buckthorn species.  This plant is native to Russia, and the northern parts of both China and Mongolia. It's uses can be traced back to a meteria medica from the Tang Dynasty 617-907 AD. Historically the oil from this plant has been used as a beauty treatment to preserve youthful skin tone and texture, whiten teeth and as an internal medicine since long before the time it was finally written down.

Sea Buckthorn "fields"
 Sea Buckthorn is considered a drought resistant plant and can grow in extreme teperature variations anywhere from -45 to 104 feirinheight (-43 to 40 C).    It sends out extensive roots systems very quickly and is an ideal plant for controlling soil erosion.  Today, this plant is being grown extensively in Canada and through out Euroupe, as it's health benefits have began to become more widely known.

Sea Buckthorn Berries
There are two main variations of Sea Buckthorn oils.  That made from the seeds and that from the pulp of the entire fruit. There is a considerable difference in the fatty acid make up of each of these oils.  Linoleic acid and a-linolenic acid are the major fatty acids in the seed produced oil.  These essential fatty acids are also known as omega 6 fatty acids.  They are anti inflammatory, acne reducive, very moisture retaining and a powerful antioxidant. While the main fatty acid make up in the oil derived from the pulp is called palmitoleic acid and palmitic acid.  These are also known as omega 7 essential fatty acids.  These acids provide building blocks for hair, skin and nails, help combat wrinkles, increase elastin in skin, help maintain hydration and helps repair sun and oxidative damage to skin cells. 

Sea Buckthorn Pulp and Seed Derived Oils

Let's revisit this oil as a whole.  This ancient fruit contains 190 active ingredients between the two types of oil.  Nutrients including Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E, K, carotenoids, flavonoids, amino acids, phenols, folic acid, and over 20 different minerals.  What's more, it is the only plant know to contain Omega 3,6,9, and 7 essential fatty acids.  Most remarkable, perhaps, is this oils ability to heal wound damagaed skin.  It has a high success rate as a skin conditioning and repair oil.  It is nourishing, revitalizing, and restorative to the skin membrains, and can be used to topically treat burns of all kinds.  It has a remarkable sucess rate at helping heal damaged skin after chemotherapy and radiation burns and dryness. 

Healthy Teeth and Gums

Another interesting use for this oil is it's ability to work with strengthening gums, whitening teeth, and providing over all good oral hygene.  It helps with the healing time of herpes and canker sores and simply makes for a beautiful smile.