Lavender

Lavender love

My love of lavender began while living in France. The decadent rows of it in the south of France and all the creams and potions were just divine. However, it wasn’t until I moved back home and visited Sequim (pronounced Squeem not seqeem), Washington that I seriously thought about having a lavender farm, a dream that might still come to fruition but very hard to do in Georgia. The Pacific Northwest although rainy, has some of the best in the country and the entire town of Sequim thrives and is dedicated to this dynamic herb. After losing industry in the community they decided to plant fields of the plants  and voila a thriving festival and businesses bloomed.

Lavender History

The history of aromatherapy is thanks to this aromatic herb. Rene Gattefosse burned his hand and used the oil to stop the pain. It healed the hand without scarring or infection. However, the French have the Romans to thank for Provence’s abundance of  farms. The Romans introduced the herb to France. It is thought that the name comes from Latin “lavare” to wash of ‘livendulo” livid or bluish. Before World War 1 the French government cleared the almond orchards. They replaced them with lavender in the hopes of keeping the population there instead of fleeing.

Lavender Uses

In ancient Egypt the flowers were used for embalming, cosmetics, massage oils and as perfume. Egyptians would put it on their heads. The Greeks would anoint their feet. According to the Greek Philosopher Diogenes “When you anoint your head with perfume, it flies away in the air and only the birds get the benefit of it, whilst if I rub it on my lower limbs it envelopes my whole body and gratefully ascends to my nose”. During Nero’s time it was used for indigestion, headaches and to clean wounds. It is said that the plant was first domesticated in the Arab world. They dominated the Mediterranean culture, specifically Spain and from there lavender spread. Fast forward to the Middle Ages and it was used to raise money for King Edward 1. King Charles V1 of France stuffed his pillows with the flower buds. It was also used to treat lice and other pests.

Lavender has been a cure all for centuries, from linen, to inciting passion, repelling insects etc. etc.It takes approximately 175 lbs of the flower buds to make one ounce of essential oil. Lavender hand cream is the second product I made and the first featured in a national magazine. You will find it in skin therapy blended with lime essential oil. Our cleansing oil and lavender mist also contain the essential oil. This essential oil is the most widely used oil probably due to its medicinal properties. I love it because it is relaxing and makes me dream ;).

 

 

Helichrysum

helichrysum italicum

Helichrysum the Plant

Helichrysum, a member of the asteracea family, is a medicinal plant that is native to the Mediterranean. It is grown in dry climates throughout the globe. There are over 600 species of these perennial flowering shrubs. The name comes from Greek, “helios referring to sun and “chrysos” gold. It is also known as the curry plant because of the aroma it produces. It is also referred to as immortelle or everlasting because once the flowers are dried, they maintain their yellow color and aroma. 

Essential Oil

Helichrysum italicum, grown in the Mediterranean, is the most common plant to extract the essential oil. It was first distilled in 1908 in Dalmatia. It is a relatively late newcomer to aromatherapy. The oil is extracted by steam from fresh flower heads. The distillation must be done within 24 hours of picking the flowers. Its aroma is slightly herbaceous and tart. In perfumes, it is a middle note.

European studies indicate that helichrysum essential oil is effective in minimizing scarring and healing wounds. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties as well as being cell-regenerative. It can also soothe anger and stress. It has long been used in Europe for migrain headache pain.

Find it

Restorative and effective, you can enjoy helichrysum essential oil  in HollyBeth Organics rose geranium toner combined with rose geranium and rose distillates. We have also blended it in  HollyBeth Organics face and neck elixir with rose geranium essential oil in a base of: camellia, sunflower, rosehip, and carrot oils. A nutrient rich dry oil for your skin. 

Dry Brushing

dry brush
dry brushing

What is dry brushing?

Dry brushing has been used for centuries around the globe. The Chinese used fibers of a fruit called silk squash. Native Americans used corn cobs. As a child my mother would use cornmeal. In all cases the premise is the same: the scrubbing must be done on dry skin.

30 years ago a Finnish doctor began recommending his patients to dry brush to stimulate, exofoliate and detoxify the body. This appears to have taken dry brushing from cleansing to detoxifying. Over a third of the germs and toxins in our body are excreted through our skin. Logic would tell us that increasing this flow is beneficial to the skin through dry brushing.

My first experience was years ago in Morocco in a small village bathhouse where stones similar to pumice were used. In Finland, I had a similar treatment but birch twigs were used instead of a brush. When I lived in France, a similar procedure was used on dry skin to reduce cellulite.

How to

Brush before your bath when you are completely dry, standing in the shower or tub. Brush towards your heart starting at your feet.  Be gentle and stay away from any cuts, bruises or sensitive skin areas. After brushing, bathe in lukewarm water and follow up with your favorite nourishing body oil. Clean your brush regularly and store it in a dry place.

Benefits

The main benefit is exfoliation – no more dead cells on the skin surface.  Your skin will be baby soft. In winter we tend to have drier and flakier skin so dry brushing makes the skin healthier. It eliminates black heads by cleansing your pores of toxins and debris.

It circulates blood full that helps eliminate toxins and waste from our largest organ: our skin. Proponents of dry brushing claim that it stimulates the lymph flow thus detoxifying the body. The reasoning is that the lymph system is just below the skin’s service and the brushing increases activity and flow. It is known to tighten the skin reducing the appearance of cellulite. 

As it opens your pores, the skin absorbs more easily moisturizers and lotions. We of course, use our body oil afterwards. Scented with ylang ylang and black pepper essential oils, this luxurious Body Oil seduces the senses to a state of repose. With each use, skin is optimally hydrated, smoothed, and softened, giving the body an enviable glow.

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Skin Care Tips For Dry Skin

lavender hand cream
lavender hand cream

Winter skin care is challenging with the cold and dry air that increases moisture loss in the skin. Then top it off by walking into a heated room and you have a double whammy of the indoor heat parching the skin more.

Numerous dermatological studies also indicate that skin diseases such as psoriasis, dermatitis and rosacea are exacerbated in winter months making winter skin care essential a regime and routine.

Let’s look at the steps we can take to decrease skin problems in these chilly months.

Bathe Less

This does not mean to emulate Louis xvI and where flourish all the time. However, it is important not to use hot water. This actually leads to moisture loss as the lip barriers in the skin are broken down with the scorching hot water.

Use a non-alcohol based cleanser such as our chamomile foaming cleanser or marigold foaming cleanser. Both are gentle on the skin without stripping away needed hydration. Also, avoid products with fragrances, stick with essential oils.

This also applies to washing your hands. Alcohol soaps and sanitizers deplete the needed hydration in your hands. If you must use them make sure and replenish with hand cream and then gloves, both indoor and out.

Exfoliate

You want to get rid of dead cells by lightly exfoliating. Nothing harsh should be used, a gently exfoliant can do the trick. Try our grits honey scrub that can also be used as a mask and hands and face. You can also use baking soda: mix a small amount in water and gently massage into face and hands. And please please… do not use an exfoliant that contains micro beads that are damaging our environment.

Hands

We, or at least I tend to forget my hands. As I have written on several occasions, my grandmother would slather her hands in cream and then wear white cotton gloves to bed. Her hands were hard working throughout her live from cotton picking to sewing and they were still smooth at 98 years old. I use our lavender hand cream at night on my hands and our orange peppermint shea butter on my feet.

Moisturize

This cannot be stressed enough for both men and women. For your home a humidifier in the bedroom will keep your skin and hair hydrated. Heating is hot air blasting the moisture from our skin. Our rose geranium moisturizer is known for helping with rosacea and dry skin. What every you choose for your face, make sure it is based on dry oils that will not pollute and clog your pores.

The best time to apply a moisturizer or cream is after bathing. Pat dry instead of rubbing excessively and leave your skin slightly damp and apply the body oil or body balm your choice. I keep skin savior in my bag.

And don’t forget to replenish your body with water… I used to drink a lot of water when living abroad. Now, I have gotten lazy about it and must increase my intake.

Enjoy your healthy winter! And make sure you keep your winter skin care regime!

Retailer spotlight: Fig & Flower

sara fig&flowerFig & Flower our local retailer, has a new look. But one thing, thankfully, has not changed, the sunny smile on Sara the owner. Sara Lamond is laid back, calm and confident. However, behind this quiet is a very savvy business woman and lawyer. 

  • If you weren’t here today at Fig & Flower where would you be?

It’s hard to say. Something I’ve noticed about myself, and other small business entrepreneurs, is that we’re dreamers. It’s part of the territory. Venturing out on your own means seeing the potential in an idea that doesn’t yet exist, at least for you. So I find myself dreaming up lots of little adventures. In reality, though, I’d probably have gotten locked into an attorney position that didn’t make me happy, so I’m grateful to be where I am. 

  • What is your favorite product? It doesn’t have to be mine… 🙂

My current hero product is your Grits & Honey scrub. With the season changing in Georgia, it’s super important for me to be exfoliating regularly. If I don’t, I get dry, flaky patches around my nose and eyebrows. But aggressive exfoliants can dry me out too much. So I really like the balance of the hydrating honey and the gentle exfoliation of the grits. I don’t rub excessively – that’s the key! I mostly wear the Grits & Honey scrub as a mask and as I’m wiping it away I use just enough pressure to exfoliate.   

Another product I’m loving this season are the 100% Pure Pomegranate Lipsticks. They are super hydrating, which I love in a lipstick, but they aren’t sticky at all. Best of all, the pigment sort of soaks into the lips so even when the hydrating balmy aspect of the lipstick wears off, the color sticks around long after.

  • What was your inspiration for leaving the legal field to delve into the natural/organic world?

Well, my love of all things natural actually coincided with law school. Just before law school started, I did a couple months of boot camp at a cross-fit gym. It was there I first learned about the clean food movement. I noticed a very tangible result in how I felt when I cut out sugar and dairy. I really committed to going natural at that point. I stopped using shampoo and conditioner (and blogged about the experience), ran my first full marathon, and – in true lawyer fashion – consumed all the research I could. 

After passing the bar, I started working as an attorney and felt very unfulfilled. It seemed to me if I was going to be spending 60 – 80 hours a week at my job, as most attorneys do, I should strive to enjoy it. And just as important as following my passion, I wanted to contribute to my community in a positive way. Combining my love of natural health and wellness, with something I love and that’s fun to me – like makeup – seemed the perfect fit!

  • If you could do one thing over what would it be?

I wish I had had more confidence in my abilities and desires. Growing up I loved playing with hair and makeup. When I started law school, I joked that if it didn’t work out, I was going to drop out and go to beauty school. In truth, I probably should have pursued a career in cosmetology or aesthetics, but I came from a high business oriented, entrepreneurial family and cosmetology wasn’t deemed a “serious” career choice. The thing I’ve learned is that most passions can become viable careers because the drive to learn and develop your craft is so insatiable. You’ll commit yourself fully and make it work if you love what you do. My husband is a musician, and I think I learned this lesson from him. 

  • What is next on your agenda? Will we see more fig and flowers?

For now, I’ve decided to take things slow. I was considering opening a second location this year, but ultimately I decided against it. I see other stores like mine in other cities expanding and I started to feel rushed to grow faster. But I’ve got a solidly growing small business on my hands, and the whole operation has been bootstrapped by my own initial investment. I think that’s something to be proud of, and I am. I don’t want to rush our growth, and get into a situation that harms, or even derails, this journey I’m currently on. I have to remind myself not to measure my success by someone else’s, because each journey is different. And in the end, I’m really proud of what I’m accomplishing. 

Pomegranate Seed Oil

History

Pomegranate seed oil began it’s journey literally eons ago. Native to Persia the pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits on the planet. It was known as the nectar of the Gods. Its first journey was to China in 100 B.C. For Christians the pomegranate represents hope of life eternal. Some scholars believe it was the pomegranate and not the apple that was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

For the Jewish religion, it represents righteousness. In China it represents wealth and is a common wedding present. In Buddhism, it is one of the three blessed fruits along with peaches and citrus.

The varied uses of the tree and fruit include tanning leather, treating leprosy and dyspepsia.

The Fruit

Pomegranates grow on a shrub that can be pruned to look like a tree. They can grow to 20 feet in height. There are some shrubs in Europe that have lived for 200 years. Although there are hundreds of cultivars, only 14 grow in the U.S

Pomegranate Seed Oil

200 pounds of pomegranate seeds are need to make 16 ounces of pomegranate seed oil. There are approximately 800 seeds per fruit. This luxurious oil is made by cold pressing the organic seeds.

The luscious oil produced by the pomegranate seeds contains flavonoids, antioxidants and punicic acid, a fatty acid. This reduces inflammation and hydrates as well as protecting the skin and repairing from sun damage. These components aid in protecting and firming the skin. Research has proven the efficacy of the oil on the skin in its ability to stimulate cell growth of the epidermis. Coupled with its bounty of antioxidants this is a must for glowing and healthy skin.

It easily penetrates the skin without leaving a greasy residue making it perfect for oily and dry skin. The oil is viscous and only a small amount is needed for the skin.

This prized oil is found in our eye serum, nourishing body oil and body balm.

Camellia Seed Oil

camelliahomeslider

Camellia History

Camellia seed oil is my favorite ingredient.

Camellias, a staple in southern gardens, is one of my favorite blooms. Their origin can be traced 5,000 years to China and Japan. The plant arrived in Europe in the 16th century but didn’t make it to the U.S. until the 19th century. There are over 200 species of camellias. According to the International Camellia Society there are over 20,000 varieties. Green tea comes from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. The oil is from the seeds of Camellia oleifera.

In Japan, they were known as tsubak or “tree with shining leaves”. The Shinto religion believed that gods made their spirit homes in the flowers. They were planted near temples and graveyards for their spiritual meaning. The flowers were not cut because it was equivalent to beheading. We can thank the Geisha in Japan for making camellia seed oil so popular for the skin and hair. It has been a staple for centuries in their beauty routine.

Camellia Properties

As a non-comedogenic oil it quickly penetrates the skin and hair without leaving an oily residue; a true dry oil. It contains UV protection due to the polyphenol compounds. Full of vitamins A, B, C and E and abundant in oleic acid that regenerates the skin it is perfect for all skin types. Its properties add moisture to soften and make the skin more supple as well has containing anti-inflammatory properties.

It is by far my favorite oil. That is why you will find it in most of our products. In our hair and body silk it is coupled with argan oil and infused with vetiver and peppermint. You will also find this exquisite oil in our face and body creams as well as most of our oil combination.

I like to think of it as Mother Nature’s elixir for your skin and hair.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

pumpkin seed oil
pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin History

Before we talk about pumpkin seed oil, let’s talk about the fruit. Yes, the countless varieties of pumpkins are in the same family as squash, cucumbers and melons. Its origin dates back to about 5000 B.C. in North America. Pumpkins are among the most versatile fruits that exist.

The shells were used to make bowls and mats by Native Americans. Medicinally, they have been used to treat acne, fever, parasites, and kidney problems etc. etc. Long a staple in diets, the flowers seeds and meat are considered delicacies in certain cultures. Pumpkin seeds have even been recommended by the World Health Organization for its abundance in zinc.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

We all know about the virtues of pumpkin pies and roasted seeds, but the pumpkin seed oil is the prize for me. Pumpkin seed oil is packed with everything you need for glowing skin. The seeds are cold pressed to obtain the oil that makes a dark green light oil with a slight nutty aroma. It is not a heavy oil like coconut oil and will therefore not clog your pores.

Benefits for the skin and hair

This powerhouse of an oil is packed with fatty acids, alpha hydroxyl acid, Vitamins A, C, E and zinc. These ingredients are all needed to boost collagen production, increase cell renewal that brighten and smooth the skin.

Research by the University of Maryland Medical Center has indicated that the oil is beneficial to hair and skin. Why? The omega 6 fatty acids are vital to help stimulate hair and skin growth. The vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids are essential for hair growth. The oil can decrease the production the enzyme (5 alpha reductase) that is responsible for slowing hair growth.

Vitamin K in pumpkin seed oil is known to reduce swelling, healing and bruising after surgery. It is also applied to the skin to help with rosacea, acne and spider veins according to WebMD.  We love pumpkin seed oil so much that you can find it our nourishing body oil and body oil.

So the next time you carve that pumpkin or make pumpkin pie, keeps the seeds.

Grapeseed oil benefits

grapeseed oil benefitsWhat are the benefits of grape seed oil? Grape seed oil surfaced in the 20th Century. Grapes have been touted for over 6000 years for their medicinal properties.

Grapeseed oil benefits

Grapseed oil is light and non-greasy. It is non-comedogenic, it will not clog your pores; it is quickly absorbed by the skin. It will leave skin hydrated and smooth.

Grapeseed oil is full of flavonoids, anti-oxidants, linoleic acid and Vitamin C and E that remove debris and free radicals. These components promote the rejuvenation of collagen increasing the skin’s elasticity. An Ohio State University conducted a study on the benefits of grape seed oil. The result of the test indicated that grapeseed oil may speed up the healing process of wounds on the skin.

Scientists have found that the linoleic acid naturally present in the oil is beneficial for the treatment of , dermatitis, allergic reactions, eczema, and dry and itchy skin. Grapeseed oil benefits also include healing of acne, the inflammation that is caused due to blemishing.

Seeds of grapes are cold pressed to produce the light oil. The same grapes that are used for wine are used for their seeds.  This makes the grape business double duty in some ways. The finished product has a 2 year shelf life but should be kept refrigerated to prevent rancidity. The color is light green with a slightly nutty aroma.

Our certified organic marigold bergamot dry oil is made with organic grapeseed oil and jojoba oil infused with calendula and bergamot. Our customers prone to break outs swear by it. They first cleanse with our marigold foaming cleanser, then apply the dry oil. Some follow up with a spritz of marigold toner.

Grape seed oil is wonderful alternative to the harsh peels and/or chemicals for blemish prone skin.