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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Folded Essential Oils: "Folded Like Clothes or Dough"?

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.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bath In Your Own Personal Ocean. Why Bath Salts?

Information Brought To You By: Recherch'e Organics


How would you like to bath in your own personal ocean? Think of that calm, relaxed, and tranquil environment.  What if it were available any time you wished? What if I told you, it was?

Your Own Personal Ocean..

Have you ever wondered why people bath with bath salts?  Is it because it's a fad thing, or a smell good thing, or perhaps there is something more to it?  Let me introduce to you a few more reasons why bath salts are something to take notice of.  First, lets "clear the water" so to speak.  It  very important (as always) that you know the quality of product you are buying.

Things to Look For:
 1: That it's REAL salt: not just sodium chloride but of the sea, or saline lake or Himalayan Mountains
 2: That essential oils are used for the aroma therapy aspect of the bath salt
 3: Personal choice: if you want unnatural colors or dyes in your salt

The Salt of The Sea

There is a long history to bathing in sea water and salt solution baths.  Hippocrates, the Father of  Modern Medicine,  first noticed some time around 500 BC that fisherman who injured their hands were also very quick to heal.   He began encouraging patients to bath in warmed sea water and called these treatments "thalassotherapy" or sea therapy in Greek.

Green Tea Infused Sea Salt (By: Recherch'e Organics)

 Natural salt contains many micro-nutrients and minerals that are beneficial for your body and your skin. While the warm water of any bath opens your pores and naturally relaxes you, there is much more happening in that bath with salt added to it.  Natural salts work to draw out impurities, pollutions, dirt and oil from the skins surface and pores, while helping release toxins from the blood stream and replenishing the mineral balance with in.  It hydrates the skin, increases moisture retention, and promotes cellular regeneration. Saline water stimulates your circulatory system, meaning it effects your heart, blood, blood cells, plasma, arteries, blood vessels, veins, and capillaries.  Natural salt combine with warm water helps keep your skin smooth, soft and supple, while improving common irritations like bug bites, rashes, as well as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.   Let's delve just a little further in to see what some of the common minerals found in salt can do for your skin and bodies over all health.

Himalayan Salt (Colored By Natural Mineral Content)

Magnesium is commonly found in natural salt.  Magnesium helps us combat day to day stress and fatigue.  It helps the nervous system respond less to "fight or flight" but in patterns that are more conducive to the given situation.  This mineral also helps with healthy calcium balance, calcium needs magnesium to be properly absorbed and used with in the human body.

Calcium is another mineral commonly found in natural salt.  Calcium has long been known to strengthen bones and nails which can help stave off diseases such as osteoporosis.

Potassium helps to balance moisture levels with in the skin.  It helps give the skin cells a plum and youthful look.  Potassium is needed after exercises and is used as a total body energizer.

Bromide is the mineral that soothes tired, sore muscles and relieves aches and pains from the joints.  It helps with the healing time between exercise and physical exertion and reduces internal inflammation.  This is the muscle relaxer, so to speak, of the mineral make up of salt.

Sodium, and of course there is sodium.  Sodium helps the body balance it's lymphatic systems fluid regulation. The lymph system is highly responsible for our bodies immune function and white blood cell transportation, there for sodium is actually an integral part of the health of our over all immune system support team.

*It is important to remember that bath salts can be a challenge to your circulatory system if you have a history of a weak heart or other circulatory related problems, you may want to consult your doctor before extensively exploring the use of these natural salts in your bath water.

DIY: Bath Salt  Exploritorium...

Making Bath Salts:
It is getting easier and easier to find unique salts even in local grocery/health food stores.  Going on line you can find a plethora of "gourmet" salts.  Almost any of these that are not flavored or infused salts can make a wonderful bath soak.  Some of my favorites are Himalayan Sea Salt (coarse grained), Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt, Cypress Flake Salt, any Black Lava Salts, just to name a few.

*Get a bowl and pour a hand full of your desired salt into it
*Add 3-7 drops of essential oil of choice (steering away from citrus which photo reacts with the sun           making your skin very sensitive to UV rays)
*Add dried flower petals if you choose approx a tbs. Lavender, Rose, Chamomile all make great 
       choices, but experiment and come up with your own.
*Have ready a 7x7 inch (approx) square of cheese cloth or muslin draw string bag and place the 
       contents of your bowl in the center of the square.
*Fold up the sides and rubber band or tie off to secure your salt and additions into the baggie. 
* Add to a hot bath and allow 3-5 minutes for it to fully dissolve
*Step in and ENJOY.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Argan oil ~ from Morocco's Tree of Life

Information brought to you by: Recherch'e Organics
Moroccan Oil, have you heard the term fluttering around your salon, are your girlfriends reporting shining results due to it's use?  More about that petroleum based product later, what I really want to delve into is the history, cultural influences, the whats and whys of Argan Oil and because of this oil, Moroccan Oils rise to fame.

Argania spinosa
Goat Tree's
The Argan Tree, which grows only in Southwestern Morocco, reaches heights of 8-10 meters tall and provides much desired shade in this arid part of the world.  This tree is home to the fleshy green fruits that produce Argan Oil, a vitamin rich oil used both for nutritional and beauty purposes.   Inside the green fruit casing there is an extremely hard shell protecting 2-3 almond shaped kernels filled with this Argan "liquid gold".   These trees have supported the local Berber community since the dawn of time.  Hailed as the "Tree of Life" the Argan tree's leaves and fruit have sustained the goats, camels and sheep of the Berber peoples for centuries. Cattle live off of the pressed nut cakes that remain after the Argan Oil has been extracted.  The people of this region eat the oil and the nut shells are used as a source of fuel for their fires.  Argan tree's need no cultivation and are perfectly suited to their dry and arid natural environments.  Living any where from 125-450 years these trees are viable source of both food and income for generations to come. 

Argan Fruit

Within this Argan fruit there lies in wait a glorious moisture enhancing oil. Upwards of 50% of this fruits total weight by volume is oil weight.   It is a time intensive task however, for the local Berber women to retrieve this precious oil.  It takes 3 days for a single woman to produce just one liter of oil.  Traditionally the Berber women have collected the seeds, which are then dried in the open air. Once dried, the pulpy flesh is removed and often used for feed for livestock and animals.
Sun Dried Argan
Next, the nut is cracked open to reveal the Argan kernels.  These kernels are then roasted and cooled if to be used for culinary purposes, and then ground and pressed (weather for culinary or cosmetic use).  Many attempts to mechanize this entire process have been tried,  however the traditional ways have always prevailed.  This time and labor intensive process has been the only way thus far to retrieve the precious Argan Oil to date. 

3 Phases of the Argan Kernels Life
 After pressing the oil is left to decant for approximately 2 weeks.  This allows any remaining pieces of the kernel to settle to the bottom.  Natural unrefined oil may still contain some small amount of sediment.

Argan Oil

Argan Oil has extremely high levels of Vitamin E and upwards of 80%  of the total volume is comprised of essential fatty acids.   Making Argan a perfect natural serum for many skin aliments as well as protecting the skin cells from aging caused by oxidation.  One of the leading active substances in Argan Oil is called triterpenoids.   This group of sterolins improve skin metabolism, reduce inflammation, and promote true moisture retention.  Argan Oil is reported to help in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles by it's ability to restore the skin's hydro-lipid layer. It has also been used effectively for treating skin aliments such as chicken pox, acne, psoriasis, eczema and stretch marks from rapid weight gain/loss.

So what is the difference you ask?  Moroccan oil is a company that highlights the use of Argan oil.  The only problem here is their formulas only contain approx 3% or less of natural Argan Oil.  The rest of the "filler" ingredients are things like silicons, petroleum byproducts, and fragrance.  To reap the true benefits of Argan Oil, one is much better off going strait to the source.  Below are many different ways in which one can add Argan Oil to their daily beautification regiments. 

*Facial Moisturizer: Argan Oil is considered a dry oil, it absorbs quickly and will not be greasy or clog pores.  Adding a couple of drops of pure Argan oil to your favorite facial moisturizer or using a direct application where fine lines and wrinkles appear. 

*Leave on Conditioner: After showering, while hair is still wet, ad a few drops of pure Argan Oil to your hair, both ends and scalp to hydrate and moisturize.  It is especially useful if you often dye your hair or daily use a blow dryer. 

*Cuticle Softener: Apply a drop or two of pure Argan Oil to a cue tip or other such device and liberally apply to your cuticles at night.

Since this is such a labor and time intensive oil and is a huge supporter of the communities of Southwestern Morocco, it is always best to by from reputable fair trade companies.  These companies are not only insuring the pureness of product but also insuring the livelihoods of the people who harvest, dry, and render this precious oil. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bath your self with... Wine?

Information brought to you by: Recherch'e Organics

...Wine, Vino, Vin, Wijn, Wein, Viini, Vinho, Wine...

For the love of wine... Many of us come home in the evening and begin our daily routines of helping kids with homework, cooking dinner, sitting down with the family, cleaning up, and somewhere in this litany of things we do, we crack open that bottle of wine. We sit back, cherish the first sips, and relax. Well, have you ever thought of bathing with wine? This is something that is usually last on peoples minds when they think of this drink, hailing from grapes, descending from Italy (and now from many places around the globe).

Lets talk about it...
There are very few companies that are creating body care products with wine as an ingredient.  A spa in Japan, the Hakone Kowakien, has taken this idea to a whole different level. As viewed below...
Hakone Kowakien Spa, Japan
Why would one want to use wine for skin care???

(example: Recherch'e Organics has just come out with a new soap, Black Currant Rose and Red Wine).  Red wine contains high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols which soften skin, fight free radicals, stimulate circulation, increase elasticity and flexibility within the cell walls, the tannins firm skin and shrink pore size, all while evening out skin tone and color, leaving you with youthful glowing skin. Red wine is also effective in helping combat things like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.  It helps detox the skin, pulling many skin dulling and harmful toxins from the pores, leaving the skin fresh and healthy.  
There is secret ingredient, possibly the most potent aspect for the argument of using wines in your beauty products, this little lovely is called Resveratrol.  Resveratrol is a naturally occurring part of a  plant's defense system.  It is an anti-microbial substance created in response to stress, infection or strong UV radiation that the plant goes through while alive.  It appears Resveratrol uses its antioxidant effects in a two fold manner; savaging existing free radicals, and preventing new free radical formation.  It has also been reported that this anti-oxidant stimulates healthy cell proliferation as well as collagen synthesis.  As we age the natural collagen and elastin structures within our skin's matrix diminish, leaving us with a wrinkled and loose appearance to our dermal layer (skin).   Resveratrol may in fact be able to help improve the function of "fibroblasts"(a cell in connective tissue that produces collagen and other fibers), which in turn creates new and healthy connective tissue with in our skin. 

In a recent study that I read this is an exact excerpt from those pages:

"In a recent study, the antioxidant strength of 1% resveratrol was compared to that of 1% idebenone. Idebenone is a powerful pharmaceutical antioxidant. Its benefits include shielding the skin from environmental damage, improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reducing dryness, and smoothing skin texture. The results of the study revealed that resveratrol had a stunning 17-fold greater antioxidant capacity than idebenone!"

Maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all!!!!!
For more information on where to purchase bathing products imbued with wine, please contact Recherch'e Organics at (406) 209-3755

Thank you.