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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.
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.
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.
Bathe less .. yes in the winter. 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.
This does not mean to emulate Louis XVI and wear our flourish roll on perfume without cleansing. However, it is important not to use hot water. This actually leads to moisture loss as the 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.
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.
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
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
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!
Frankincense is derived from the sap from the Boswell tree. When dried, frankincense is used as incense. When steam distilled it is an essential oil. The country of Oman is thought to be the oldest producer of frankincense. However it is produced in the Middle East, Africa and India.
Frankincense has a long history in the Middle East, mostly in religious ceremonies such as funerals. In Egypt it was ground to make kohl and used as an eyeliner and was thought to improve vision. Apparently Emperor Nero used a balm made with frankincense to decrease the effects around his eyes from a night of debauchery. When distilled as oil it was used as a perfume. And of course the most popular story is that it was given to Jesus as a gift by the three wise men to ward off evil spirits.
According to numerous studies, frankincense has been shown to inhibit inflammation. Thus helping a variety of ailments from arthritis to acne. One study mentioned its assistance in digestion, those with inflammatory bowel diseases. Others suggest that frankincense can help with respiratory disorders to dental care.
As an essential oil it has a calming affect due to its sweet woodsy yet subtly citrus perfume. A few drops added to your bath water are a luxurious way to relax and relief muscle pain. And you can find it in our coupled with cardamom for a lovely body polish. Frankincense for the season.
Cardamom is a spice that comes from the seed pods of various ginger plants. Native to India and popular throughout Asia, Cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice, famous for its aromatic and healing properties. It commonly used in food, medicine, and skincare.
Cooking with Cardamom
There are two main types of cardamom: green and black. Green, also called true cardamom, comes from an aromatic perennial herb plant. It is widely used in Indian cuisine, and is a popular spice used in baking sweets as well as flavoring coffee and tea. Black Cardamom has more of a smoky flavor, commonly used in meat dishes and soups. Both are found in popular sweet and savory dishes such as curry pastes and masalas.
Cardamom also boasts natural healing abilities, prominently utilized in Indian and Chinese medicine. Its natural oil is packed with antioxidants and can be used as an antiseptic, an anti-inflammatory, and a digestion aid. Cardamom seeds are often chewed on for oral health, providing relief from mouth ulcers and combating bad breath.
Cardamom essential oil comes from steam distillation of the spice. It creates a rich, yellow oil with an invigorating, bittersweet smell. The sweet, spicy aroma invigorates the senses and calms anxiety. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used this fragrant oil in perfumes, incense, and mouth washes. It is also used as a massage oil due to its warming sensation and skin-soothing properties.
This luxurious essential oil can be found in HollyBeth Organics’ Body Polish, adding that hint of spice while promoting circulation and calming the muscles. It is the ultimate body scrub for relaxation and rejuvenation. The Ancient Egyptians would be jealous.
No wonder cardamom is so highly valued – this sumptuous spice can do it all!
Witch hazel is native to the US and used by Native Americans to treat colds, eye infections, kidney problems, skin conditions, stings and wounds. Today it is widely known as an astringent and effective acne treatment.
In the Wild
The plant is interesting for numerous reasons. As one of the few plants to go to full bloom in fall and winter, it is one of the only food sources for insect life (flies, midges, beetles) that tolerates the cold, thereby holding a monopoly over wintertime pollination—an interesting ecological niche! Witch hazel’s seeding mechanism is very unique. The previous year’s seed capsules mature at the same time as its current year’s flowers, and quite often one can hear an audible popping sound as the seeds are forcefully ejected up to 25 out from the tree like bullets.
Witch hazel is also a major part of animal life. It often grows in dense thickets, providing cover for birds and small mammals. The seeds provide food for insects, wild turkeys, bobwhite quail, as well as gray squirrels. Furthermore, ruffed grouse and white tailed deer feed upon the buds and flowers.
Skin Care Benefits
Witch hazel is amazingly beneficial to the skin. Its natural astringent properties make it a great tool against acne, regulating oil production and reducing inflammation. It also helps reduce puffiness and tighten skin, making it a great defense against under eye bags. Feeling oily or grimy? Witch hazel is a great skin refresher. It cleanses and purifies, calming the pores and soothing the skin while gently hydrating and restoring natural balance. Suffering from razor burns or sun burns? Try a little witch hazel to calm the area and soothe irritation. Want a product that conquers all of these concerns? Click here to discover HollyBeth Organics’ witch hazel based Marigold Toner.
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.
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.
Historically (and well before the pineapple) peppermint has been a symbol of hospitality. Of all the essential oils, peppermint is one,that even the most neophyte of consumers, have a distinct memory or experience. From the smell of indulgent, candy cane laden hot chocolate during winter vacations to an invigorating peppermint tea prepared with healing love to combat a stomach ache peppermint can be found peppered in our lives. Growing up, the smell of peppermint always is interconnected to home remedies for chest congestion, skin irritations and the rare joy of being allowed to chew gum!
From a scientific standpoint, peppermint is a cross between spearmint and water mint. The plant can be found in Europe, Asia and North America. While there are close to 30 species of peppermint, the majority of peppermint is harvested in North America. The Egyptians, who were medicinally advanced, used peppermint leaves for gastritis and indigestion. In the late 17th century and the early 18th century the Europeans used peppermint not only for stomach ailments but also menstrual infirmities.
The aroma of peppermint has been shown to raise readiness and improve memory. Who could not benefit from this?? In addition to containing vitamin A and vitamin C, findings indicate that peppermint oil exhibits antifungal, analgesic, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
Our glimmering orange peppermint shea butter consistency and the unpolluted peppermint and orange has a multiplicity of uses. A friend uses it on his face and hair, a friend’s daughter uses it on her feet after a long ballet class and I recently massaged my temples during a debilitating migraine. As if this was not sufficient, I recently gifted a friend that is fighting breast cancer and she has shared with me that it has helped subside the hot flashes and nausea post treatment.
An ancient medicinal tool and a modern medicine cabinet must have… Peppermint!
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 of 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.
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.