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 bergamot essential oil in HollyBeth’s flourish roll on perfume, marigold bergamot dry oil, citrus cream and citrus spray.

Sunflower Seed Oil

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 acid 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.

 

blueberry the powerhouse

 

 

 

 

blueberry origin

In a recent search, I read that the humble blueberry is considered one of the oldest living plants on the planet. It has an approximate age of 12,500 years. Native to North America, the wild blueberry has spawned over 450 species that grow across the globe. Although not as common in the south as blackberries when I was growing up, it is now a fixture in most backyards. As animals love the fruit this is a great plant to include in your urban garden.

blueberry folklore

Native to America, Native Americans smoked the berries to preserve them. They used the blueberry to make a jerky that would last during the winter. The roots of the berries were made in tea that was used to soothe the pains of childbirth, to purify the blood and for coughs. The berries were also used to make dye for textiles. In the south, it was said the tea from blueberry leaves would regulate blood sugar. As a child I remember someone would bring my Grandmother blueberry wine and to this day I think about how I wish I had tried it! According to the University of South Florida it has more antioxidants than red or white grape wine.

blueberry nutrition

A cup of blueberries has 80 calories. But this one cup is chock full of nutritious benefits for you. It contains the daily recommended amount of fiber: 3.6 grams. It contains 25% of your daily Vitamin C needs. These powerhouses also have vitamin K, manganese and iron. In one study Blueberry antioxidant properties have been shown to aid mobility in senior citizens who ate 2 cups of frozen blueberries a day. This fruit has been claimed by some researchers has having more antioxidants than any other fruit.

Because this fruit is so powerful, we included it in our  pore clarifying mask for its bountiful antioxidant properties. We know you will love the way it purifies your pores without drying the skin. Thanks to the blueberry, your skin will be glowing and fresh!

Winter Skin Care Tips For Dry Skin

lavender hand cream
lavender hand cream

With the South and Eastern Seaboard in a frigid winter state our skin is taking a beating.

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.

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 99 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!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Post Makeup Skin Care Routines

We tend to spend most of our energy preparing our face to take on the day and sometimes we seem to forego the needed post-makeup routine. We have all been there… exhausted to the point that our eye lashes seem to hurt and the finite energy still accessible was used to floss. Despite the desire to simply give in to the alluring plea of your heavenly bed, your post makeup skin care routine can define the success of your purposeful skin care choices both earlier in your day and life.  

When your skin has been absolved of all pollutants and erased of the day’s stress, it is a perfectly blank palette awaiting luxurious repair and restoration.  Throughout my life, I have dabbled in conventional and unorthodox skin care treatments. 

  1. Create a ritual.

    Of the many I have pondered, the most important I feel is the creation of a ritual.  By your bedside, I would recommend that you have at your arms reach an emollient lip balm, an eye serum, a face and neck serum, a face moisturizer and a hand/foot cream. If you have these beauty essentials close by, you will create not only a Zen moment but revoke any excuse of not having enough time. Always pay attention to the essential oils included in the ingredient deck; this can also be a vehicle for mental vigilance for essential rest and relaxation.

  2. Baby your face.

    Not once but twice.  First of all, avoid any abrasive puffs or brushes. Not only can these create perfect bacteria spawning grounds, but can strip your face and cause irritations and scaring.  Your fingers are the ideal mechanism for cleansing, but if you are accustomed to using a wash cloth, visit the baby section and invest in a few packs of these wash cloths.  They are the perfect size, the perfect softness and personally it makes my heart smile as I revisit memories of my daughters precious baby giggles. Secondly, when you exfoliate remember to exfoliate for more elongated amount of time versus with more strong and harsh movements.  Aesop said it best “Slow but steady wins the race”

  3. Thick then thin.

    No, not a diet fad! Always pay attention to the proper order of products for maximum results.  At all times, apply serums first then moisturize.  Why? To maximize the benefits.  The chemical and physical properties of serums (those that are not laden with harmful chemicals or vexatious toxins) provide a potent dose of nutrients as they create hydration and balance.  Serums are fast-penetrating and can create a pristine canvas for both the application of a moisturizer but also to take full advantage of the benefits.  In essence you are encouraging your serums and moisturizers to work smarter… not harder!

  4. Create Change.

    Lastly, I would remind you to keep a routine but create change within your routine.  Fall is fast approaching and I would encourage you to reassess the products you are using in your routine.  Personally, my skin is quite dry and I have recently begun using the HollyBeth Organics Skin Therapy over my face and neck serum at night.  The curative camellia seed mixed with lavender and lime aroma calms my mind while the prickly pear encourages courageous dreams. We all have our routines, our secret indulgences and our hush-hush beauty tips.  What are your top post-makeup skin care treatments?

 

vitamin C the skin’s powerhouse

face and neck elixir

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant for your skin.

Did you know that rose hip and sea buckthorn oils have more vitamin C than oranges? Vitamin C is what keeps our skin healthy and firm.

Humans do not produce vitamin C. We either have to eat foods containing it or apply to our skin. As the epidermis and dermis need vitamin C, the skin benefits more from topical application. As vitamin C is water soluble topical is the way to go. Our rose geranium face moisturizer, face and neck elixir and eye serum that contain this crucial vitamin penetrate the skin quickly and effortlessly. All of our products are water less. Basically, by applying vitamin C products to your skin your skin benefits more than drinking a vitamin C drink. 

Topical Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerhouse for the skin. Two observational studies found that higher intakes of vitamin C from the diet were associated with better skin appearance, with notable decreases in skin wrinkling. 

As we age, collagen formation declines. Environmental stress such as pollution, sun, smoking etc. affect the collagen in our body. Collagen is the most prominent protein in our body and comprises about 70% of our skin. It is found throughout the body and acts as a quilt holding us together. Collagen gives the skin firmness. Your skin needs vitamin C, an anti-oxidant, to replenish declining collagen formation. Topical Vitamin C helps the skin as we age by promoting collagen production and limiting the damage done by environmental stress.

History has shown that Vitamin C has been used for the skin. It is known that women in Tibet would rub sea buckthorn berries on their skin to the skin healthy. The oil is bright golden orange and they would massage it in their hands and face. Rose hips and rose petals have been used for centuries for the skin. In history they used what was at hand, what Mother Nature produced. Just like we do at HollyBeth Organics.

 

 

blue yarrow essential oil

yarrow

Blue Yarrow Essential Oil

Blue yarrow essential oil is actually not blue. Yarrow has over 100 active ingredients including flavonoids, tannins, silica, amino acids and the list goes on. Like chamomile, yarrow contains azulene that produces the rich vibrant blue.

The lovely sky blue color occurs when the leaves and flower tops are distilled to make the essential oil. The flowerheads are yellow, white and pink. With over 30 cultivars, the native yarrow is cream or white. This pink one in my backyard turns creams after being this subtle pink. The leaves of some have a spicy bitter aroma. 

The essential oil is known for it’s healing of the skin and is most often used in treating acne and blemishes. It has a rich herbaceous aroma that is soothing and relaxing. It is used in steambaths to rid the body of toxins. Our new pore clarifying mask has blue yarrow essential oil.

Yarrow History

Yarrow, is one the world’s oldest medicinal plants. .  Yarrow is a hardy wildflower that can be found around the globe.It’s healing properties are chronicled throughout history beginning with the Romans. The Greeks and Romans used the herb during battles to heal wounds and to stop the flow of blood. In Mythology, Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War, used yarrow to help heal the tendon injured ankleNative American used the dried leaves and flowers heads in a paste to treat sunburn and other skin ailments. It was thought to also cure baldness. It has been used to reduce anxiety and stress in tea form or in infusions. As a tea it is known to reduce fevers and diminish migraines.

It was thought to have magical powers and some thought it would guard against evil spirits if hung above your door. In Ireland it was hung above the door on midsummer night’s eve to protect the homeowners from disease. Its leaves and flowers were used to brew beer in the Middle Ages.

 

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 ;).