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 ;).

 

 

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!

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.

Grape seed oil benefits


What are the benefits of grape seed oil? Although grapes have been touted for over 6000 years for their medicinal properties; grape seed oil only surfaced in the 20th century.

Grape seed oil benefits

Grape seed 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.

Grape seed 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.

Bergamot

bergamot
bergamot

Bergamot Origin

Bergamot has been used for hundreds of years by perfumers in Western Europe for its ability to mingle with other fragrances. Its medicinal history dates back to the 16th century when the Italians used the oil for fevers, as an antiseptic, for respiratory problems and skin ailments.

The tree has a curious history. Some say that the evergreen tree is a cross between an orange and lemon and others say it is a cross with a grapefruit. There are those who argue that it is native to Asia and others to Greece. Another legend is that Christopher Columbus took the tree to the Caribbean and elsewhere where it was used in voodoo to protect oneself against harm.

Whatever the history, it appears that the name came from Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy where it was first sold.  It is the Italians who have the largest production of bergamots. The Greeks attest that the name came from Turkish word meaning “the lord’s pear”.

Bergamot Essential Oil

The tree is relatively small, growing only to 13 feet. The small fruit itself is yellow when ripe and is sour and basically non-edible. It is the peel that is cold pressed to make the fruit. It takes approximately 100 bergamots to make 3 ounces of oil.

The components make it useful as an antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant  essential oil. It is known to be a rival of lavender essential when relaxing the mind.

The aroma is crisp, tart with a peppery spicy undertone. You can find it in our bergamot essential oil in HollyBeth’s flourish roll on perfume, marigold bergamot dry oil, citrus cream and citrus spray.

fragrance vs perfume

frangrance vs perfume
fragrance vs perfume

Fragrance vs perfumes can they actually be dangerous for our health?

When I lived in Paris I loved going to Galeries Lafayette and smelling all the glorious new scents. Later I realized that the majority of the so called “perfumes” were actually made in a lab and not from a flower.

Perfume

First, what is a perfume and who created the first? The Egyptians created the first perfumes for use in religious ceremonies and on the body.

A perfume, according to the Oxford dictionary “A frgrant  liquid typically made from essential oils extracted from flowers and spices, used to impart a pleasant smell to one’s body or clothes“. This to me, is the the perfect definition. The words chemical, synthetics or man made do not exist. A perfume is intimate and personal; an aroma that conjures pleasant memories. A perfume is a image and creation that lingers once you leave the room.

A perfume like flourish is essential oils infused in this case, organic sunflower seed oil, and not in an alcohol or chemical.

Fragrance dangers

Most conventional fragrances contain chemicals derived from petroleum that is linked to environmental health effects. Over eight hundred million pounds of chemicals are used each year to make fragrances. Now these so-called ingredients are considered to be the most prominent toxins to the environment.

The chemicals are why a human made fragrance will stay on your skin and in your body longer.

“Fragrances, because they evaporate and we inhale them, need more rigorous evaluation,” says President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and pollution policy advisor for Environmental Defence. “We don’t know what the effects might be because cosmetic ingredients don’t need to be tested for safety before marketing.”

Indeed as long as a decade ago, several ingredients used in fragrances were the subject of an investigation by the US National Academy of Sciences which labelled them as being on a par with insecticides and solvents in terms of the damage they could do to us.

Up to 100 chemicals may be used in an average fragrance, most of which are petro-chemicals i.e. derivatives of the petroleum industry with many suspected to be harmful. In 2004, Pat Thomas from the ‘Ecologist’ magazine analysed a typical and well selling fragrance product, listing the ingredients and possible effects of the chemicals used. Yet there is wide cause for concern as to the health of those who use them. Studies have shown that the synthetic fragrance chemicals are being found in breast milk, with one comparison study measuring levels as having increased five fold in the last ten years alone. This is from a great website I found on a site in the UK.

So the next time you traipse through a boutique or your favorite department store, think twice before spraying.

Sunflower Seed Oil

sunflower2

Sunflower Seed Oil for the skin

Sunflower seed oil is so beneficial to the skin. A study on infants compared sunflower seed oil with olive oil and found that olive oil “significantly damages the skin barrier” and should be discouraged for dry skin treatment and infant massage. They also determined it reduces infection. It is rich in oleic acid, linoleic acid, carotenoids and  high in Vitamins A, D, and E. It is non comedogenic: it doesn’t clog the pores. Safe for infants, sunflower seed oil is a better skin barrier than the petroleum based products as it protects the skin and locks in moisture. The oil also contains folic acide that helps the body manufacture new cells.

According to Dermatology Times, several studies indicate that the oil has anti-inflammatory properties.Thus making it perfect for acne prone skin by fighting the bacteria yet moisturizing at the same time. The National Eczema Association also encourages the use of sunflower seed oil for those suffering with outbreaks.

What does this mean? That this oil penetrates the skins, absorbs quickly and reduces the fine lines. It is a powerful moisturizer and deeply nourishing for the skin. We have sunflower seed oil in our face and neck elixir, body polish, body oil and flourish calming perfume. See for your yourself the results of sunflower seed oil.

Sunflower Fun Facts

Sunflowers, native to the Americas, have been growing since 1000 B.C. The largest producer in the the U.S. is South Dakota. With over 70 species to choose their benefits are eclectic. In Japan, millions were planted to absorb toxins after the tsunami destroyed the nuclear power plant. In French the word for sunflower is tournesol: follow the sun. Birds love the seeds that make some of the best oil for cooking and for the skin.

 

Are Organic Skin Care Products Effective?

facecareproductsslider

Are Organic Skin Care Products Effective?

Are organic skin care products effective? A legit question to ask for those of us who have been raised on products containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Though these chemical-based skin solutions can produce results, they can also irritate delicate facial skin, engender skin allergies, and disrupt the natural balance of your skin. Not to mention whatever you put on your skin is also going into your body. Kind of a scary thought when you take a look at the unfamiliar ingredients listed on the back of many drug store products.

The Power of Antioxidants

So what is the alternative? Can organic skin care products deliver real results? The answer is YES! HollyBeth’s organic skin care products are made with pure, natural oils. Natural oils derived from plants, flowers, and fruits are packed full of powerful antioxidants that nourish and rejuvenate the skin. Antioxidants counteract destructive free radicals that age the skin by repairing and preventing cell damage. Mother Nature’s anti-aging serum!

Organic Skin Care Solutions

HollyBeth Organics utilizes various natural oils known for their skin-healing abilities, such as camellia, calendula, and jojoba combined with essential oils like rose geranium, clary sage, lavender, and grapefruit to create luxuriously effective skin care solutions that counteract the signs of aging and promote youthful, healthy skin.  Skin is nourished, balanced, and protected without the damaging effects of chemicals and artificial ingredients.

Organic Bug Spray: The Chemical-Free Solution to Mosquitos

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Summertime Weather

Summer is almost here, and chances are you will be spending a lot of time outdoors. Backyard cookouts, weekends by the pool, dog walks in the park, and dinners on the patio – life seems to move outside as soon as the sun comes out. And as much as we love the warm weather, so do the bugs.

Pesky Mosquitos

While they feed on nectar and sugar for nourishment, female mosquitos need the protein found in blood in order to make eggs .They find us by sensing the carbon dioxide we put out when we breathe, as well as the chemicals in our sweat. Are you a fan of wearing bright colors? Mosquitos are visually attracted to colors that stand out in comparison to the scenery. To top it all off, they can detect heat, so all of us warm-blooded humans have nowhere to hide.

Traditional Bug Sprays

Anti-pest sprays are a good way to keep the bugs away, but the chemical smell can be overwhelming. Some people would rather get a few mosquito bites than shower themselves with pesticides. Citronella candles provide some relief but only protect a small area. A solution that is chemical free, smells great, and protects you no matter where you are is an organic bug spray.

Citrus Spray Insect Repellent

HollyBeth Organics’ Citrus Spray Insect Repellent to the rescue! This organic bug spray was inspired by HollyBeth’s Citrus All Over Cream, which clients began to use to keep the bugs at bay. Harnessing the natural insect repelling properties of bergamot, orange, and lemon combined with lavender and tea tree oil, this delightfully fragrant organic spray mists the body with uplifting citrus while providing expert protection against mosquitos and bugs. Get outdoors and enjoy your summer, bug free and chemical free!