Lavender Farm Dinner

We’ve wanted to have a Farm to Table Dinner on our farm for some time and it finally came to fruition last Friday. What a joy it was. I enjoyed showing guests around the farm, talking about lavender and other herbs, as well as dining on the delicious food.

We partnered with Chef Grant Buchanan of GB Culinary to do the dinner. Grant has much experience doing farm to table events and he sourced the ingredients from local farms (including ours). They brought a crew of about 5 people and handled all the details.

We spent a good deal of time pulling weeds in the area where the dinner was held, so it looked great. The timing with lavender bloom was perfect and diners sat beside one of our lavender fields just as it was beginning to bloom.

Guests mingled and walked around the farm as appetizers were served. As is typical for a farm to table dinner, many guests brought their own bottle of wine, but there was also strawberry lavender lemonade and lemon balm water to drink.

Herbs from the farm decorated the table centers and tables were arranged next to one of our lavender fields. The culinary crew came late afternoon to set up. They had an area to the side with their truck where they set out tables as a staging area for food prep.

 

Almost on cue the sun set behind the mountains as guests finished eating.

Sharing our farm  (and our view) with people, helping them understand what we mean by Farm to Skin and seeing the variety of herbs we grow besides lavender is important to us. Farm dinners are a good way to do this. Other ways we do this is with  farm tours, having  volunteers work on the farm, having the herb school students do a day on the farm as part of their coursework and participating in local art events.

Here is the menu from the dinner planned:

Passed Hors d’oeuvres:
Peachtree Farms Pork, Pimento Cheese, Potato Chip
Buttermilk Biscuits, Haystack Goat Cheese, Pickled Blackberries, Basil
Blue Corn Pancakes, Fried Pastured Chicken, Sorghum, Red Scallions
Salad:
Ollin Farms Skyphos Head Lettuce, Fresh Herbs, Shaved Apple, Strawberry, Quinoa, Cucumber, Pistachio, & Basil Vinaigrette
 Entrée:
La Dolce Vita Family Farms Lamb: Wood Fired Lamb Cuts, Hyssop, Cherry Balsamic BBQ
 Ollin Farms Sugar Snax Carrots, Tarragon Carrot Top Pesto
Grilled Baby Bok Choy, Roasted Potatoes, Fennel, Bee Balm Oil
Dessert:
Pistachio Cornmeal Cake, Sour Cherries, Lavender Cream
Non-Alcoholic Beverages:
Strawberry Lavender Lemonade
Lemon Balm Water

 

 Grant is flexible about dietary needs too and prepared a separate vegetarian dish with zucchini and peas that was delicious.  Most guests were local but there were quite a few who drove from Denver for the event.

Our goats also enjoyed the extra attention. Have you ever been to a similar event? What was it like?

 

Seven Products with Added Uses

Alternate Uses for Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skincare Products in the Spa, by Karen Kress LE

I found Colorado Aromatics while shopping for a natural product line to use and retail in my aesthetics practice.  I have been nothing but pleased with the products ever since.  More clients are becoming educated and more particular about what goes into their products and onto their skin. Colorado Aromatics is a seed to skin concept that is easy to promote to your clients who use natural products, who support local businesses or women owned businesses, and who care about the environment (You won’t hurt any fish using their shampoo in stream while camping! Nice!).

I have also discovered several cross uses for these products in my spa. In my wax room for instance, I would much rather use a blend of botanical oils on my clients’ skin than an overpriced bottle of mineral oil. (Do you know mineral oil is a byproduct of refining petroleum?) As I replenish spa products now, I read ingredients to see if I am paying for an ingredient or a just brand name.

Here are some alternate ways that I have found Colorado Aromatics products to be useful for my spa clients.

Springtide Face Cream is soothing on my face when I have gotten too much sun so I tried it after waxing. It calmed that angry skin down right away!  Now I use it in my spa for after wax care. You can use the regular or gold versions.

Yarrow Oil Cleanser & Makeup Remover is a great first step prep for facial waxing. I pump it onto a cotton round, wipe each area and wax.  Follow with Springtide to soothe.

Botanical Salt Scrubs I use before leg waxing to exfoliate dead skin, keep bumps away, pre-wax oils the skin perfectly and is an add-on that feels great and leaves your clients legs so, so soft.

Razz Tightening Serum.  If you do lash extensions, you know oil is the enemy! I have my lash clients use Razz as their eye treatment. It is an oil free, hyaluronic acid serum with tightening ingredients and peptides. Then they love you even more knowing there is something they can use!

Oasis Spray Lotion.  I accidentally found out this a great frizz calming, leave-in hair treatment. Now I give 1 spritz (too much is greasy looking) onto my hands and give a “Hair Masque” at the end of a facial by softly pulling it through their hair as I am unwrapping their head. It smells great and their hair is soft as ever.

Parsley Eye Serum. I wish it didn’t say EYE in the name – I have several uses for this vitamin K rich bottle of gold! It’s great for dark circles under the eye, as well as to improve crepey skin, scars and the best one – it has improved my worst stretch marks!

Face & Body Mist.  My spa is in a salon, I also use these toning mists to break the ice and chat up the stylist’s clients. It’s a great way to lure them into wanting to know more.

Colorado Aromatics also offers a growing line of professional grade products that we use. The ingredients and sophisticated formulations are natural yet extremely effective. These products have active ingredients in strengths equivalent to well-marketed, larger (more expensive) brands.  The difference is that there isn’t anyone between the formulator and your client, except you.  This allows Colorado Aromatics to offer a superior product at a much more reasonable cost. 

If you would like to know more, please contact us for pricing and products for estheticians.

Cindy’s note: Karen Kress is a licensed esthetician and part of our customer service team at Colorado Aromatics. She also has her own Spa, Body and Face Aesthetics that is next to our store. You can get treatments from Karen at Colorado Aromatics or at Body and Face.

Stress and Your Skin

Stress, both psychological and physical can lead to skin problems. Stress has been found to aggravate psoriasis, rosacea and eczema as well as cause hives and rashes.  Much of this is due to elevation of the stress hormone cortisol.

Most importantly, studies have found that psychological stress decreases the skin barrier function, the most important role of skin. This leads to loss of moisture from the skin,  leading to dry, itchy skin. But also decreases the repair process and increases the potential for irritants, allergens, toxins and bacteria/fungus to penetrate the skin.  This can also cause inflammation, numbness, and itching of the skin.

Stress also affects the hair causing it to become dull, greasy, and even fall out.

It is more important than ever to use a good moisturizer with antioxidants when you are stressed.

Some tips to help deal with stress include

light exercise, such as walking,
taking time out for quiet or meditation
breathing deeply
getting more sleep
eating nutritious whole foods
laughing (watch a funny movie)
taking extra time for personal care
engage in a repetitive activity such as knitting or weeding
acknowledge that you are a body, mind, and spirit

Herbs can also bring relief for stress. Some of my favorites are lavender, rose, lemon balm, skullcap, tulsi, chamomile and hops. You can make a nice tea from lemon balm, tulsi, lavender and chamomile. Skullcap and hops may be better as a tincture. Although another nice way to ingest hops is with a cold, hoppy IPA beer.

Another way to enjoy these herbs is in the bath. Put the herbs in a muslin bag and let it soak in the tub as you run the water. You can even use the bag to wash with.

Try our lavender/rose bath salts, or botanical salt scrubs.

For more on the science, read here:

Altemus, M., Raoa, B., Dhabhar, F.S., Ding, W., Granstein, R. D., Stress Induced Changes in Skin Barrier Function in Healthy Women.  Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Why Your Skin Needs Carotenoids

Carotenoids are good antioxidants for the skin and are found in a number of plants. They are  yellow, orange, or red colored, fat-soluble pigments that give color to plants including autumn leaves. There are over 700 different carotenoids identified by chemists. Plants use these molecules to help absorb light that is then used for photosynthesis as well as for antioxidants.

You may have been hearing since you were a child to eat your carrots so you can see better.  Lutein and the two zeaxanthin isomers are actually part of the retina of the eye where they protect the retina,  help prevent macular degeneration, and enhance vision.

Vitamin A is important for skin as it assists in the regeneration of tissue, preventing the degeneration of the epidermis. Sunlight causes damage to the skin and carotenes can help protect the skin against this damage. Carotenoids can stimulate collagen and elastin in the skin to increase its density, elasticity and firmness. In addition carotenoids can repair and regenerate these protein fibers after damage by UV light. Carotenoids help stimulate epidermal regeneration helping to soften and smooth skin. They also reduce water loss so help hydrate. Carotenoids can help reduce skin pigmentation by decreasing the size of melanocytes and melanin levels.  Thus addressing hyperpigmentation caused by UV radiation, hormones or even acne.

Overall, carotenoids can help protect skin against premature aging caused by UV exposure.  Some types of carotenoids can actually absorb UV light thus protecting skin against burning. All this makes carotenoids a powerful anti-aging and skin repair ingredient in cosmetics.

Two broad classifications of carotenoids are carotenes (orange)  and xanthophylls (yellow). But they can also be classified as compounds that can be transformed by the body to create vitamin A (retinol) or those that do not. Provitamin A carotenoids include alpha-carotene, beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.  Other carotenoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene are not transformed into vitamin A but have other important roles.

We use herbs that are rich in carotenoids in our products including calendula. Over 19 different carotenoids have been identified in calendula including lycopene, gamma carotene, flavoxanthin, lutein, and beta carotene. This may explain why calendula has such a history of use in skin care. You’ll find calendula extract in our Springtide Face Creams, Mountain Mist Hand and Body Lotion, Sole Pleasure Foot Butter and Knuckle Balm. Another herb rich in carotenoids is parsley. You’ll find this in our Parsley Eye Serum.

Calendula Basket

Smoking, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, illness, UV light and infrared radiation (heat) all decrease the levels of carotenoids in the skin.  Studies have shown that skin that is high in carotenoids looks considerable younger than skin depleted in carotenoids.  Skin benefits from both topical and oral carotenoids.

How to Revive Skin After Being Outdoors

For most of us, living in Colorado (and elsewhere) means an active, outdoor lifestyle.  But exposure to the elements takes a toll on skin causing redness, irritation, dry skin, hyperpigmentation and wrinkling. All of this results in premature aging.  But don’t let these skin problems keep you from enjoying a healthy outdoor lifestyle. There are many reasons to enjoy the outdoors, be it summer or winter, and Colorado Aromatics skin care can help enhance your healthy, outdoor lifestyle.

 

You wear a sunscreen, but what can you do to revive your skin after being outdoors?

Cleanse. Be sure to use a cleanser to remove sweat from your face. Follow this with a  pH balanced face mister to help restore and recover your skin’s natural pH. Colorado Aromatics makes both Meadow Mist milky cleanser and Yarrow oil cleanser. And you’ll love our aromatic Face and Body misters distilled from herbs (including lavender) that we grow on our Certified Naturally Grown farm.

Use Antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for repairing skin damage caused by the sun. Besides eating a diet rich in antioxidants, use skin care products that are rich in antioxidants. Colorado Aromatics uses herbs that are rich in complex antioxidant polyphenols to help repair skin damage.

Use Mild Exfoliation. Mild exfoliation can help brighten skin by removing the outer layer of dead skin cells and pigmentation. This can help your moisturizer work better by improving its penetration. It can also help reduce hyperpigmentation and that leathery appearance caused by too much sun. Too much exfoliation, however, can damage the skin barrier function and lead to redness and inflammation (so go easy).

Hydrate. Moisture must reach the skin from both the inside and outside. Drinking water is vital to staying hydrated. Use a good moisturizer topically such as Springtide Face Cream to moisturize from the outside and keep the epithelium moist. A good moisturizer is a balance of water and oil to both hydrate and hold that water to your skin and protect the barrier function of your skin.

And don’t forget your neck, chest and hands; they are exposed to the elements as well.

Being outdoors helps us regenerate and relax. Don’t let your skin care concerns keep you from enjoying the outdoors.  Good skin care is not a luxury but something to consider on a daily basis. Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skin Care products are formulated by a biochemist and herbalist who understands skin physiology.

Hiking the Superstitions

I spent some formative years in Arizona going to college at NAU and became quite attached to the desert and the canyons. I don’t get back there often so when I heard the 2017 United States Lavender Conference would be held in Phoenix I was elated! The conference was a great time to reconnect with lavender friends I’ve made over the years, gain some knowledge and share some knowledge. But hiking was another highlight of the trip.

Peralta Trail Head Superstitions

I was backpacking in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix years ago and wanted to revisit those mountains; an easy drive from Phoenix. Finding maps and hikes online proved difficult. Since we got into Phoenix (an easy flight from Denver) in the afternoon and had plenty of time to do something, we drove east towards Apache Junction. There we  saw signs to the Lost Dutchman’s State Park (not a park when I had last been there) up highway 88. We had just enough time to hike Treasure Loop at the base of the Flatirons. The views of the desert stretching out were spectacular and I had a hard time grasping how green it was due to recent rains.

After two days sitting at the Conference I was ready to get out and explore some more. This time we went to Peralta Trail which is out highway 60 just past the little town of Gold Canyon. Peralta Road is a dirt road that heads into the Superstition mountains. There were places along that road with many cars so there must be other attractions there including people camping off the road. When we got there the parking lot was full and we had to park further away in the overflow parking.

But the trail, oh the trail, what views there were.  So many different types of cacti, and such dense growth. Saguaros so incredibly tall. The trail was quite steep and we were climbing almost all the time.

Peralta TrailI learned that the tall pillar rocks that surrounded the canyon are called hoodoos. The trail goes 2.5 miles to Freemont saddle where there is an overview of Weaver’s Needle. We hiked a little around the saddle on Cave Trail before going back down. Enjoy the pictures here.

Hoodoos

Weavers Needle

I ran out of water on the way down. Something I should have known better about having hiked in Arizona before. I also wished I’d taken more sturdy hiking boots with me with ankle support rather than my low tops. I was at least glad to have my lip balm and Knuckle Balm with me. None the less, it was great to be back in the desert canyons hiking! We might plan more winter trips to Arizona for hiking in the future. Do you have a favorite place you travel to to hike?

Should I use Coconut Oil on my Face?

Using coconut Oil on the face seems to be a ‘fad’ right now. We often get customers and clients who ask about its use. I do not recommend that people use just coconut oil on their face for several reasons.

coconuts

Coconut oil consists of triglycerides that are mainly composed of short and medium chain fatty acids such as lauric acid. Lauric acid has 12 carbons. There is nothing innately wrong with lauric acid and it has benefits for the skin, but your skin needs so much more than JUST lauric acid.

An important part of the skin barrier function is the matrix of lipids (including fatty acids) found in the stratum corneum (outer layer of the epidermis).  The skin barrier functions to protect the skin from water loss, and to protect the body from the outer environment.   Linoleic acid, an 18 carbon fatty acid found in olive oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and rice bran oil is an important component of the skin barrier system and has been found to help relieve dry skin. Palmitoleic acid found in macadamia nut oil has 16 carbons. It too plays an important part in the integrity of skin. A variety of longer chain fatty acids that are not found in coconut oil are crucial for the the integrity of the skin.

Coconut oil does not provide moisture to the skin as some people think.  Moisture means water. An oil alone, such as coconut, can help trap water in the skin but it cannot add water or moisture to the skin. Only water can do that. A good moisturizer is the perfect combination of water to hydrate and oil to help moisture stay in the skin – but you need both.

Coconut oil has fewer sterols and phenolics that act as antioxidants, compared to other oils such as sunflower and rice bran oil.

Coconut oil also has a lower level of vitamin e (tocopherols) compared to other oils.

Coconut oil is considered comodegenic. This means that it clogs pores and makes it particularly harmful for acneic skin but can cause any skin type to become congested.

Just as we are encouraged by nutritionists to eat a wide variety of foods for proper nutrition and functioning of our body in whole, it is just as important to give a variety of nutrients to our skin. This can be done by using a product that contains a variety of different plant based oils as well as added nutrients.

We of course recommend Springtide Face cream with rice bran oil, olive oil, raspberry seed oil and meadowfoam oils. Or if you prefer an all oil product, try Parsley Eye Serum with olive oil, sea buckthorn oil and Macadamia nut oil. This way you are getting a variety of fatty acids, as well as added antioxidants delivered to your skin.

 

Business Accomplishments 2016

Business seems to grow painfully slow at times which is why I like to look back at a full year of accomplishments. It helps me to put things in perspective. We do more than just skin care. Here are some highlights of Colorado Aromatics and Sagescript Institute for the year 2016.

Mentoring

African Women's Entrepreneurship Program

In September I was asked by a representative from the State Department to meet with women entrepreneurs from Africa in the cosmetics / skin care industry. This is part of the International Visitor Leadership Program project titled African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program. We met for a few hours and shared information about our businesses; problems and strategies. It was an amazing time and unfortunately very short.

In June I participated in the Longmont Startup program as a mentor to others who wanted to start businesses.

I enjoyed doing a presentation at Silver Creek High School for  Girls in Engineering Math and Science (GEMS). We talked a bit about cosmetic chemistry and made bath truffles for the girls to take home. They had some good questions about chemistry and skin care.

Through Sagescript Institute, Dr. Cindy Jones consulted for numerous small cosmetics and skin care businesses and performed microbiology testing. She continues to help small businesses perfect their formulations.

Presentations

I (Dr. Cindy Jones) gave a presentation to local esthetics students on Holistic Esthetics. This included information on using herbs in skin care.

I also gave a teleconference on “Using Hydrosols in the Spa” for the Alliance of International Aromatherapists.

In March we had a great time doing an activity at 300 Suns Brewery on “Beer in the Spa” and hope to bring it to other microbreweries this year.

Press/Media

The Longmont Times Call newspaper had a feature article on us entitled “Farm to Face: Skin care goes local” in Longmont by Shay Castle. It was also published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Denver Post.

Green Profits and Growers Talk magazines also published an article on us titled “Going Beyond Farm to Table” by Anne-Marie Hardie.

Dermascope Magazine featured our products in several articles including Red Rocks Beard Oil, Springride Gold Face Cream, Angel Falls Shampoo, Coolness  Aftershave Lotion, Mountain Mist Hand and Body Lotion and Cucumber Face and Body Mist.

Numerous other publications and blogs also mentioned our products.

Website/Social Media

On our website I wrote many blogs and we added a function called “Ask the Esthetician”. Through this you can present your skin issues to our esthetician and get personal recommendations back.

We increased our activity on social media through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (follow us). We post about our products and about interesting hikes and outdoor activities. We  participated in the Indie Business Takeover Tuesday.

New Products

We introduced one new product; Allure Lip Conditioner. This product is formulated to help plump lips and maintain integrity of the lips for customers who spend a lot of time outdoors.

We also decided to have our bath salts as year round products rather than just for the Holiday Season. Bath Salts are part of our new gift set for Athletes.

Farm Events

In September we hosted students from the Colorado School for Clinical Herbalism on our farm as part of the practical aspect of their program. It was great seeing so many people on the farm at one time.

We also had several farm tours this summer, both private and public. I love getting people outside on the farm to see where we get inspiration for our products. Stay tuned for more this summer or contact us to schedule your group for a tour.

During the summer our farm (Colorado Aromatics) was part of the Farm Fresh program put on by the Firehouse Art Gallery and Arts Longmont. We had 4 artists come to our farm for inspiration to create some amazing pieces of art. Our artists were Ken Elliott, Janice McDonald, Victoria Eubanks and Mary Williams. Their collaborative pieces are shown below.  I love that our farm serves as inspiration for art.

Fresh Art 2016

Sales/Donations

We had successful seasons at the Boulder and Longmont Farmers Markets. These outdoor markets are fun to do but we always have to be prepared for any type of weather. I love interacting with customers on such a regular basis. We also participated in the Denver Botanic Gardens Winter Market (indoors) and the Western Colorado Lavender Festival (outdoors).lavender festival booth

We we able to increase our sales this year and gained new wholesale accounts as well.

We had two very interesting sales. One sale was to the Colorado Division of Tourism who used our products as part of their promotional Thanksgiving dinner held in Britain. This was for members of the tourism industry to promote tourism in Colorado. Its very special for our brand to represent Colorado.

We also had one sale through Fly Denver that was also used for promotional purposes in Dubai.

Because of our sales we were able to donate many gift baskets for silent auctions this to local groups. Putting money back into our own community is an important part of having a business for me.

We were also able to make significant donations to national non-profits including Oxfam, American Institute for Cancer Research, American Red Cross, Women’s Earth Alliance and Habitat for Humanity.

One thing I love about having a business is the number and variety of positions it puts me in and the people and experiences I get to have along the way. I have spent this past week pretty much in rest and relaxation. I thank all the people who made these accomplishments possible. Without our customers nothing would be possible. I look forward to serving you again throughout the next year and bringing you functional skin care products that solve the problems you have from your outdoor lifestyle.

Why Should I Use an Oil Cleanser?

Great question.   Although opposites may attract in most cases, this is not one of them.  Oil will actually attract oil.

What does this mean?  Ingredients like Grapeseed Oil, Olive Oil and Jojoba Oil used in our oil cleanser will attract the oil and junk on your skin and break it down for removal from your face, without stripping the skin. Herbs help contribute antioxidants and cleansing activity. You can use our Yarrow oil cleanser alone or use a two step cleansing method and follow with our Meadow Mist milky cleanser.

Really?  Really.

Yarrow Video

 

Movember Foundation Fundraiser

Most of us are familiar now with the Movember Foundation that supports Prostate and Testicular Cancers. They are well known for their No Shave November where they urge men not to shave for the month of November to draw attention to men’s health issues, including mental health. Their goal is to “change the face of men’s health.” You can learn more about the Foundation and learn about mustache care at their website.

beard

According to The American Cancer Society prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men after skin cancer.

Colorado Aromatics shares similar values with Movember in cancer prevention and education. For this reason we want to help raise money for Movember Foundation. During the month of November we will donate $2.00 for every bottle of Red Rocks Beard Oil that we sell. We think this is a great product for men growing a beard. It not only helps soften and condition the beard, but helps care for the skin under the beard as well. If you or someone you know is growing a beard for Movember check it out. You can also donate to Movember on our MoSpace  or in our store.  Let’s do it for our Fathers, our Sons, our Brothers, our Husbands and our friends.

You can buy Red Rocks Beard Oil here. You’ll love the masculine vetiver/petitgrain scent.