Camellia Seed Oil

Camellia History

Camellia seed oil is of my favorite ingredients. 

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

Camellia seed oil has almost the identical molecular weight as our skin. As a non-comedogenic oil it quickly penetrates the skin and hair without leaving an oily residue; a true dry oil. It is also known to have more antioxidants than other botanical 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 neck elixir, rose geranium face moisturizer, eye cream, citrus cream, lavender hand cream and skin therapy.

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

10 Beauty Secrets for a Younger You

We live in a world fixated with lists and numbers. We define the health of our relationships by the answer keys of a list of questions.  We demarcate our business ad life by the breadth of our twitter lists and describe the richness of our lives centered on sometimes unattainable bucket lists.  Despite this trend being somewhat vexatious to the soul, I do appreciate the delicate balance of sound advice and the creation of helpful guidelines. Alas, I have created a list of beauty secrets and skin care tips – some scientific, and some just for and from the soul…

1) Smile Often. Smile With Purpose. Smile Randomly.

The reactions you receive will make you smile even more. Frown lines are the wrinkles that age us.

2) Floss & Read

Your brain is already wrinkled and your teeth will never wrinkle.   Reading = Beautiful Mind.  Floss = Beautiful Smile.

3) Use an Eye Cream

Your eyes are the windows to your soul.  Your eyes speak volumes of who you are and who you will become.   Your beauty regimen should never be without an eye cream, serum or combination of both.

4) Exude Confidence

Even if you are flagging into a downward spiral, always find your inner confidence and harness it.  Nothing is more beautiful than a woman that is confident and strong even if she finds herself flanked by unwanted pounds or unwanted company.  You are always strong no matter what surrounds you!

5) Inside – Out | Outside – In

What you put into your body will reflect on the outside.  What you allow to permeate your mind will define your spirit.  What you expose your body to will be the framework for your internal health and wellness.

6) Wash Your Face at Night, Twice

During the day we are exposed to harmful, unsolicited pollutants. We add product to our faces thus turning our day look into our night look. No matter how exhausted we are after an arduous, exhausting day, wash once to clean and twice to purify

7)  Wear Sunscreen ALL DAY, ALL YEAR

Sun damage is not mutually exclusive to summertime, heat or an overwhelming amount of sunshine.  To this day, I am fighting the many reckless years of trying to achieve the perfect Southern California Ban de Soleil look. Try a foundation with sunscreen in it like suntegrity. and I always mix it with a small amount of rose geranium face moisturizer before applying.

8) Breathe

Use the wonders of essential oils to create needed balance in life.  Breathe deep and with purpose.  Take the time to see the beauty in everything.  Desiderata by Max Erhmann, whom encapsulates this thought perfectly, “ With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

9) Moisturize Your Hands, Elbows & Knees

We often overlook them with our beauty regimes.  We tend to focus on our face and forget our neck and décolletage. And our hands, elbows and knees are incessantly maltreated.  They too need to be pampered.

10) Drink Water

As the largest organ, skin needs to drink in the moisture offered by water from the inside out.  Skin care should NEVER have water in its ingredients list.  It dilutes the efficacy and emboldens the chance for bacterial contamination.  HollyBeth Organics NEVER adds water to any product. I encourage you to review closely the ingredient deck of any skin care product.  You will be shocked to see that water is sometimes the first ingredient (and don’t forget that the ingredients are listed from largest quantity to smallest.)

My grandmother and great grandmother lived well into their 90’s and both were women that celebrated rugged individualism and took very different approaches to beauty.  Celebrate your own beauty, your own approach and your own 10 skin care tips.

Spring Skincare

 

Spring Skincare

Spring skincare begins! Spring is the time we get motivated to clean out our homes, to get rid of things to start fresh. But spring cleaning isn’t just about purging physical items from our lives. After a long winter, it’s also a great time to think about purging toxins from our bodies. Your skin deserves a spring clean to keep everything fresh, glowing and gorgeous. 

The key to any skin or beauty regimen is consistency. The skin is made up of several layers and it takes time for skin to adjust to new climates. If you follow the main ‘musts’ your skin will be vibrant and glow year round. Spring skincare begins today! So let’s get started. Below are key essentials to keep your skin glowing and healthy.

Eat Well

The old adage “you are what you eat” applies not only to our body, but also to our skin. What is lovely about spring and summer is that nature’s skin detoxifiers abound in red and blue, in the form of berries. Try eating what is in local, in season and fresh. Not only will you feel better but you will look better for your spring skincare.

Exfoliate 

Get rid of winter skin for your spring skincare with a gentle exfoliator and stay away from harsh scrubs and chemicals that can damage your skin. Remember your skin sheds cells every minute, think of it as spring cleaning, sweeping away winter. When I was a child my mother would exfoliate with cornmeal which is the reason I created our award winning grits & honey scrub. What customers love about it is that it is not only an exfoliator but a moisturizer as the honey leaves your skin soft and supple. Our pore clarifying mask is perfect for shedding winter and cleansing the pores without drying out your skin.

Cleanse

This is so important. When I lived throughout Europe and Latin America doing international business development, people would always tell me to never use soap to cleanse my face, but to use cold cream or oils. I eventually created, and now swear by, our gentle foaming cleansers that are castile based infused with essential oils. Our newest addition to our line, cleansing gel with chamomile and rose geranium is perfect for travel. Our cleansing oil is also gentle, yet effective in cleansing. Every country where I have lived, people swear by rinsing with cold water. Notice the people’s skin who you admire, apart from genetics I wonder if you will be amazed at how many use cool/cold water instead of hot water and how that affects their skin’s condition.

Hydrate 

When the temperature heats up and perspiration is inevitable, it doesn’t mean your skin is getting oily. Quite the contrary; it can become dryer and your skin can start to look dull once the sweat evaporates. You always want to drink plenty of water. I mist throughout the day with a non-alcohol based mister/toner, our rose geranium a marigold toners

Moisturize 

While living in France, I learned that dry oils are the best moisturizer for both dry and oily skin.Why? A dry oil is non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging). One of my favorites is camellia oil – it sinks right into the skin and has been treasured by Japanese geisha for years. Camellia oil also has uv protection properties. You will find this ingredient in most of our products including face and neck elixir and rose geranium face moisturizer.

The area around our eyes starts showing ages first because the skin there is thinner. And squinting in the sun doesn’t help. It’s best to always use a moisturizing eye cream and apply it with your ring finger from the outside in. Beyond that, summer can cause our skin to become dry. Even if you have oily skin, you still need to replenish the moisture; misters or dry oils work well. Another moisturizing trick is to let your skin breathe by going without make up, just use your moisturizer, sunscreen and don’t forget your hat and sunglasses.

Prickly Pear Seed Oil

prickly pear
prickly pear or tuna – I took this photo in Georgia

Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Barbary Fig Seed Oil

Origin

Prickly pear seed oil is a fairly newcomer to the beauty industry but one that is quite in vogue, no matter if you call it barbary fig oil, cactus fruit seed oil or opuntia ficus-inidica seed oil. However, in Mexico, I always knew  that a prickly pear is a  “tuna”, the fruit of a cactus called Nopal. Nopal is a cactus that is native to the Americas. Mexico, with over 80 different varieties of tuna, is the top producer and exporter.

Prickly Pear

Peeling a prickly pear or tuna is a delicate endeavor as it is full of small “espinas” thorns that can get under the skin. But once peeled it is a delicious treat. The fruit is used to make “agua frescas” or lemonade, marmalades, gorditas, gelatin, alcohol and in salsas. Prickly pears are quite versatile; however, my favorite way to eat them is just peel and eaten raw.

Prickly pear seed oil

Prickly pear seed oil is pressed from the seeds and depending on who you ask, it takes approximately 8 tons of cactus fruit to make one liter of  oil. The  seeds are hard and must be pressed to make the precious oil. You can see how it is our costliest ingredient and we buy only organic certified.

Here is a great article on the properties of the oil. The oil contains linoleic acid, phytosterols, polyphenols and Vitamin E. Therefore, it contains all your your skin needs to retain moisture, protect and nourish your skin.

Our skin therapy has prickly pear seed oil, camellia seed oil, beeswax, infused with lavender and lime. It is a customer favorite as it only take a small amount to hydrate the skin. Some of our fans also use it as a make-up remover. However you use it, you will love the delicate calming aroma that lingers on your skin.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Bathe Less?

Bathe Less

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.

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!

Frankincense

Origin

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.

Properties

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.

History of Cardamom

 

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.

Healing Powers

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.

Skin Solutions

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

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is finishing blooiming here in the mountains of North Georgia. A native plant it is a naturally powerful ingredient in HollyBeth Organics’ Marigold Toner   and Pore Clarifying Mask.

Origins

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.

Animal Favorite

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.