Enjoy the Harvest Facial Mask

One way to enjoy the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at this time of year is to use overripe produce in a facial mask. Just about any type of fruit or vegetable can be used and they are all packed with goodness for the skin including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.

Here are three fruits/vegetables easily found at farmers market this time of year that you can try:

watermelon

Watermelon contains vitamin C, vitamin A and pantothenic acid among other nutrients. Eating watermelon is a great way to get those skin benefits, but you can also make a face mask and apply the watermelon directly to the skin.

Peaches are rich sources of alpha hydroxy acids for exfoliation, vitamin A related compounds that include beta carotene, zeaxanthin, lycopene and lutein to support skin cell regeneration and vitamin C to support collagen in the skin giving it more structure and reduce wrinkles as well as to help fade sun spots.  Peaches also contain vitamin K to help fade dark circles under the eyes and vitamin B to help skin maintain moisture and decrease redness.

Even that zucchini that you can’t seem to get rid of is high in vitamin C, vitamin B-6, vitamin K, vitamin A, copper and magnesium – all good nutrients for skin.  Zucchini also contains anti-inflammatory polysaccharides like homogalacturonan to sooth skin.

When choosing produce for a facial you can use overripe and bruised produce, save the very best for snacking.

To make a facial from your produce, cut a piece about 1/2 the size of your palm. How much you need is really dependent upon how juicy the fruit is. Place this in a small blender and add about a teaspoon of facial clay. Mix well. Check to see if the consistency is good for spreading. If not ajust accordingly. If it is good, apply to the face in smooth strokes. Sit back for 10 minutes or so and enjoy a fruit snack! Rinse off with warm water and enjoy how smooth your skin feels.

You can get your herbal clay mask base here.

Herbal Clay Mask

For more information about using farmers market produce on your skin see these posts

Peach Facial

Kale Facial Mask

Radish Vinegar Hair Rinse or Foot Soak

 

How to do a Facial Massage for Lymph Drainage

A guest post by

Karen Kress, LE

Do you ever feel unusually puffy in the face? Maybe your head feels stuffed up? Excess lymph fluid clogged in your sinus could be the culprit.  If you have ever had a professional facial you may have noticed how light and clear your head is afterwards.  Part of the reason is the lymph draining massage techniques that your aesthetician uses.  In my practice, I have seen the most remarkable change in a person’s look and comfort level after proper lymph drainage. There is nothing better for clearing clogged sinuses due to allergies or a cold!

 

sinuses

Sinuses (credit CFCF – CC BY-SA 3.0)

Since most of us prefer a clear head and sinus, I have laid out the steps for doing a manual lymph drainage massage so you can experiment at home.  A hot shower is the best place to try this technique, as drainage starts and ends with your shoulders and they need to be exposed. It can work just as well wrapped in a towel while applying serums and lotions too.

  1. Assuming you are in the shower – Start with a good quality facial cleanser, cross your arms and massage, in a circular motion, around your shoulder joints with firm pressure. Spend at least one minute massaging each area in a circular motion then firmly stroke down to your arms from each higher starting point.
  2. Next, move to your shoulders, still using a circular motion while you travel toward your neck and then firm strokes towards and down your arms, then circle back up adding the neck and stroke back down to the arms.
  3. Maintain the “circle up, stroke down” pattern while working your jaw bone from chin to ears and your cheeks from ears to nose. Then stroke down to your arms.
  4. Start with small circles around your eyes to loosen and use large strokes around the whole eye area, working from the temples to the nose and all the way down to your arms.
  5. Circle back up to your forehead, ending with your scalp (a good time to shampoo) and stroking and moving the lymph through each area, all the way back down to your arms.

**Note** While we loosen in a circular massage from the bottom up, we drain in stroking motions, reworking each area from the top down.  This is extremely important because you can push loose lymph toward a clog and exacerbate the problem.  The idea is to loosen and move the lymph down away from your head into your arms. Pushing it down the arms is also important so the lymph passes your shoulders, from where it can travel to the heart.

I hope you enjoy your clear, light head!

 

Why Exfoliate

Exfoliation is the process of removing the outer layer of cells from the skin, how much depends on the type of peel. This has several positive results. By removing the dull, dead cells, skin automatically gains a more vibrant glow and smoothness. It also speeds up the renewal of skin cells. And by removing that dead layer of cells your skin care actives are more readily absorbed by skin and are able to do their job better. Exfoliation can help decrease acne and breakouts. improves skin texture, and decrease the appearance of pores. Overall, exfoliation reduces the fine lines and wrinkles on your skin.

Face Mask

There are many degrees of exfoliation and we recommend mild exfoliation. Using a washcloth to wash your face is one mild way of exfoliating.

Two  main categories of exfoliants are chemical exfoliants and mechanical exfoliation.

Mechanical, or physical exfoliation uses particles or roughness to exfoliate or a brush or washcloth.  Examples in our line include our Botanical Salt Scrubs for the body and our Meadow Mist milky cleanser for the face. This cleanser uses jojoba beads. You may have heard of microbeads and their negative effect on the environment. Well, jojoba beads are wax beads, not plastic and are completely natural and biodegradable. Don’t let the product get too hot though as the wax can melt.

Some people like to use salt on the face for exfoliation. If you do, be very gentle. Its better to use  something smoother and rounder on the face such as jojoba beads. But if  you like using a salt scrub, go ahead, just be gentle.

A natural bristle brush is a nice way to exfoliate the face. Again, make sure the brush is wet and be gentle. For your body, try dry brushing before taking a shower.

Clay is another method of mechanical exfoliation and can be used as a mask.

Don’t let the term chemical exfoliation scare you as this can also be very gentle. We recommend alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that are readily found in fruits or beta hydroxy acids which are similar. Fruit enzyme masks are also becoming popular as a relatively gentle means of exfoliation. One fun way to use fruit enzymes is to make fresh fruit masks in the summer. Exfoliation using AHAs can increase your sensitivity to sun so its best to do this type of exfoliating treatment at night. We use fruit acids in our Starbright Mask. Salicylic acid is a good way to exfoliate oily and acne prone skin.

Exfoliation of both body and face can be 1-3 times a week.

Exfoliation, however, can cause negative side effects, the most common of which is dry, irritated and damaged skin. Over exfoliation can damage the barrier function of the skin. This barrier function is important for protecting your skin from environmental assaults, bacterial and fungal attacks and protecting it from loss of water. This skin barrier is the most important function of your skin.

Signs of damaged skin include a tight feeling, sensitivity, irritation, inflammation, redness, and drying. Inflammation can lead to premature aging – the very thing you are trying to delay by exfoliation.

Be more careful of exfoliation if your skin is thin. You might want to exfoliate more if you have clogged pores, congestion, or oily skin or your skin is very sun damaged.

After exfoliation, use a soothing, anti-inflammatory product to help your skin recover. We recommend Springtide Gold.

A deep chemical peel actually is a mild wound that causes the skin to heal. They can be superficial, medium or deep. Superficial peels stay in the epidermis, while deep peels go into the dermis, removing all of the epidermis. These types of peels are done by a medical professional and can use AHAs, beta hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid and phenol. The barrier function of the skin is completely removed and the patient is at risk of not only dehydration but also infection and contact dermatitis. Scarring, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation and lines of demarcation can also occur. Sedation is often used for deeper peels because of the pain involved. Some chemical peels can cause scarring and changes in pigmentation; either darker or lighter.

Although mild exfoliation plays an important role in holistic skin care, we feel there are very few clients who can benefit from deep peels.

Why Antioxidant Rich Skin Care?

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are compounds that bind to free oxygen radicals preventing them from damaging healthy cells.

What do free radicals do?

Free Radicals are unstable and cause oxidative damage to DNA, lipids, and proteins in the cells as well as damage to cellular structures including membranes.

Free radicals increase the rate of cellular aging and cause cell death. Free radicals also cause additional free radicals in a cascade like fashion.

Free radicals result in inflammation.

An excess amount of free radicals is called oxidative stress.

rosemary

Rosemary is rich in antioxidants

 

Where do free radicals come from?

Free radicals can come from intrinsic sources meaning inside the body and extrinsic sources meaning outside the body. They are formed naturally by the body through metabolism and increase with increased exercise. Most of the time the body can handle this, but when external factors come into play the stressful environment is more than the bodies natural defenses against free radicals can handle and oxidative stress occurs.

Extrinsic free radicals come from UV light, cigarettes, and pollution. People who spend a lot of time outdoors are exposed to many sources of free radicals.

The skin is particularly subjected to free radical damage because it is constantly exposed to the environment and works to protect the rest of the body. Although getting enough antioxidants in your diet is important for health, it is also necessary to apply them topically so that they benefit the outer layers of skin, the stratum corneum. Skin must constantly be repaired to combat oxidative damage and requires the necessary nutrients and antioxidants to perform this regeneration.

Antioxidants and Regeneration

Oxidative stress leads to accelerated aging of the skin by breaking down proteins including collagen and elastin which leads to wrinkles. Premature aging also decreases the skin’s immunity which can lead to increased risk of infection as well as cancer.

Antioxidants that are made by the body include glutathione, lipoic acid, and CoQ10. Levels of these antioxidants decline with age. Vitamins C and E are not produced by the body and must be obtained from the diet or applied topically to the skin.

Vitamin C content in the skin decreases with age, another reason to look for vitamin C in your skin care. Exposure to UV light, pollutants, cigarette smoke and ozone can also lower vitamin C content, primarily in the epidermis.

Antioxidants to look for in skin care include vitamin C, vitamin E (also known as tocopherols), alpha lipoic acid, green tea extract, and flavonoids. Flavonoids as such will not appear on the label, but are abundant in herb extracts such as calendula, rosemary, parsley, lemon balm, mint and raspberry leaf.

When applied topically, these antioxidants act in the epidermis to help revitalize skin that has been exposed to extrinsic oxidants including UV light (sunlight), elevation, wind and more. For people who love to be outside using antioxidants to combat this is very important. Damage to the epidermis can lead to more severe problems including a break down of the skin’s barrier function. The barrier function not only helps to keep skin moisturized but also helps to keep toxins out of the body.

At Colorado Aromatics we think that using herbs as one of the primary sources of antioxidants in skin care is important for skin health and recovery. Herbs contain a multitude of highly effective antioxidants to reduce the oxidative stress of skin.

 

 

Beer in the Spa

I love a pint of  a good American IPA and find that it does help relax me and brings me stress relief. Hops have been known for years by herbalists to be a nervine herb that supports the nervous system.  It has pain relieving properties, is sedative and promotes sleep.

In fact, we grow hops on our farm and use them in our dream pillows to help promote sleep. Hops are also very useful for skin care because they decrease inflammation and promote skin hydration. The phytoestrogens in hops help reduce wrinkles and improve collagen.

Beer Spa

Some skin care professionals have taken note of these, both in Europe and the US. We do use hops in several of our products including Coolness Aftershave and Red Rocks Beard Oil, but some spas also use beer in treatments. I find this so intriguing and appealing that I am going to give a presentation on Beer in the Spa next month at one of our local micro breweries, 300 Suns. Can you imagine sitting in a tub filled with beer as you pour yourself a pint from the spout? Ahhh. Ok, maybe that is a figment of my imagination, but please, let me have my fantasy. Here’s the details on the talk that you are going to want to attend!

For a mere $15 you can attend the presentation, have a pint of your choice and give yourself a beer facial mask!

This happens on Wednesday April 13 from 6:30-7:30 pm at 300 Suns,  335 First Avenue (they are practically our neighbors), Longmont.  You can purchase your tickets here. No time for dinner? Did you know 300 Suns now serves food?

We’ll see you there!

I’ve previously written about hops here.

Three Herbs for Skin Care

Why do we use herbs in skin care when there are so many scientific actives to choose from? Herbs are complex chemical factories that are churning out a multitude of their own antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Many of these active compounds in herbs have not even yet been identified, but we know that they do good for our skin. Herbs are also a renewable resource that we grow right here on our own farm. By sourcing in this way you get a more sustainable, farm to skin product. Herbs grown at higher elevation such as in Colorado are thought to be richer in aroma and active ingredients. Our herbs are grown under the watchful eyes of Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker that rise in the distance.

Some of our favorite herbs to use in skin care include:Calendula Basket

Calendula (Calendula officinalis). This small orange flower produces a resin that has been found to stimulate wound healing; part of the mechanism involves increased collagen production. Calendula is rich in vitamin A related components (carotenoids) which benefit skin. It has often been used for treating skin problems such as dermatitis and eczema. Calendula also provides a n abundant number of antioxidants which can help reduce skin damage caused by the environment, it is especially useful for dry and damaged skin. You can find calendula extract in Springtide Face Cream, Oasis Spray Lotion,  Mountain Mist Hand and Body Lotion,  Knuckle Balm, and Sole Pleasure Foot Butter. Calendula is an annual that we plant each summer and harvest throughout the summer.

Mint (Mentha x piperita). Mint is such an fresh and uplifting scent, and has a cooling feeling on the skin or when eaten. The menthol is mint also has pain relieving qualities which is why we use it in our Herbal Foot Soak. Mint contains antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C, and B-complex as well as vitamin-K. Mint is toning to the skin and is great for hair as well. You’ll find mint in our Mint Lip Balm, Angel Falls Shampoo, Botanical Salt Scrubs,  Sole Pleasure Foot Butter, Chalk Creek Deodorant Powder, Oasis Spray Lotion and Clear Creek Hand and Body Cleanser. Mint is a perennial and comes back strong every year without replanting. Each year our mint patch gets a little bigger which is good because each year we need a little more. We also distill mint for the hydrosol to use as a facial mister.

mint

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis and Lavandin x intermedia). Lavender is by far my favorite herb to grow and it’s beauty and aroma are captivating. Lavender is a great crop for the typically dry climate of Colorado. Lavender is a very calming and anti-anxiety herb, for the nervous system as well as for the skin. Its great in a spa experience as it helps a person relax. Most of what we know about lavender is it’s aromatherapy benefits but it is helpful for most skin types but especially on dry and inflammed skin. Lavender also provides antioxidants to the skin.  Products that contain lavender include Allure Lip Balm, Angel Falls Shampoo, Chalk Creek Powder, Lavender Rose Body Oil, Botanical Salt Scrubs, Lavender Scented Mountain Mist Hand and Body Lotion, Coolness Aftershave Lotion and Herbal Foot Soak. We also distill lavender to make lavender water for use as a face mister.

lavender_cut Lavender is a perennial that comes back each year. It doesn’t spread like the mint does, and we plant more and more lavender each year. The past few years, our area has gotten much more rainfall than normal which has caused some problems for our lavender and many have died.

We grow over 30 different herbs for use in our Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skin Care Line.  We’ll let you know about more of them in another blog post.

New Product: Allure Lip Conditioner

Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skin Care, releases its new Allure Lip Conditioner (anti-aging Lip Balm) formulated to help your lips look their best despite your love of being outside.

lips

Coloradans who love to play at high altitude realize that their lips show early signs of aging. High altitude and severe weather often seen in Colorado can make lips dryer and more easily chapped and damaged. Allure lip conditioner is intended to help condition and plump lips, especially for people who love to be outdoors.

Allure Anti-Aging Lip Balm has antioxidant rich herbs including lavender, geranium, horsetail and violet to repair sun and wind damaged lips. We also use ingredients to support collagen production and to plump the lips.  Emollient oils, including Cupuacu butter, soften and protect the skin while improving elasticity. Keep your lips looking younger with Allure Lip Conditioner from Colorado Aromatics. We recommend using Allure Lip Conditioner twice daily. This product is also suitable for use by estheticians as part of a Colorado facial.

These products are formulated by Dr. Cindy Jones who brings a scientific perspective to the field of herbalism and natural products formulating. Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skin Care products are formulated for the outdoor lifestyle that Coloradans love. Women and men who love being outside hiking, gardening, biking and more now have a highly effective skin care line made from all natural ingredients.

You can buy Allure Lip Conditioner here. You can order Allure online or buy it in our store. Unfortunately, we will not have it at the Farmers Markets because of its softer texture. But you can still buy our lip balm tubes and Herbal Relief Lip Balm at the Market.

Allure Lip Conditioner

 

 

2015 Business Accomplishments

As an entrepreneur sometimes it feels like a constant race. When I look at what we’ve done in a single day or even week it sometimes seems insignificant, but looking at an entire year its easy to see the accomplishments, the growth and feel grateful for what we’ve done as a team.

years-text

Here are some of our accomplishments:

We introduced several new products this year. These are:

Clear Creek Hand and Body Wash in Lavender or Citrus Scent to match our Mountain Mist Hand and Body Lotion.

Yarrow Oil Facial Cleanser and Makeup Remover, unscented.

Red Rocks Beard Oil Vetiver scent

Allure Lip Conditioner unscented.

Our products were mentioned over 30 times online in reviews.

We participated in weekly farmers markets in Longmont and biweekly farmers markets in Boulder as well as the Boulder County Farmers Market Winter Market which is the Holiday show. This is something we hope to continue doing next year.  We participated in several other shows including the Rocky Mountain Gift Show, The American Herbalist Conference, The Boulder County Facial Hair Group, the Junior League of Colorado Holiday Market, the Lavender Festival by the Lavender Association of Western Colorado and the National Aesthetic Spa Network (NASN) Colorado Event.

Colorado Aromatics farm was one of the local farms featured in the Firehouse Art Gallery’s Farm to Gallery Event. For this event we were paired with 3 artists; 2 painters (Sara Brown and Sarah Hanson) and one poet (Jack Greene) who all produced incredible art that was shown at the gallery. This culminated in a fundraiser for the gallery.

In late summer we had our first farm tour  and will do more in the next growing season.

We participated in Runner Box as a promotional.

We donated money the American Institute for Cancer Research for Giving Tuesday. Earlier in the year we participated in fund raising for a Boston Marathon Runner as we also contributed to several local charities, churches and schools.

I (Cindy Jonnes) was featured by Indie Business in Makers on Main Street  as well as a Q & A Coaching Call with Christine Laureano.  I participated in our local Start Up Longmont Week by being part of a panel of women entrepreneurs. Sagescript Institute and Colorado Aromatics were nominated for a Cornerstone award by the Longmont Area Economic Council. I gave a local talk on winter skin care and was part of the Cut The Pill Telesummit with Toni Crabtree.  I was also interviewed several times and quoted in various publications regarding skin care.

I wrote what seems like endless blogs whose links go up on Twitter and Facebook. Besides this blog I write at Sagescript. This was the first blog  that I started in 2007 where I write more about farming, herbs, business and personal accounts. We also started using Instagram regularly this year which has been fun. You can follow us there at Coloradoaromatics.

The other half of our business, Sagescript Institute, where we do consulting, educating and formulating for small cosmetics businesses has also grown. We’ve gained new clients and our current clients have grown.

Our sales have increased, including online, in store, wholesale and farmers markets. Feeling more comfortable financially, we have also invested more towards the end of the year in advertising. Let us know if you see an ad somewhere! We have some amazing customers who drive far to get our products and who are relentless about telling their friends and giving our products as gifts. If you are one of our customers, Thank You.  If you are not one of our customers, its not too late.

Colorado Aromatics

Now its off to plan the next great year.

Day vs. Night Moisturizers

What makes a good moisturizer and do you need a separate day and night moisturizer?

The function of a good moisturizer should be to hydrate the skin and protect the skin barrier function.  One of the most important ingredients of a moisturizer is water; only water can hydrate. A moisturizer needs should be a good balance between water to hydrate and oils and other ingredients to help prevent water loss from the skin.

face care

Oils are great for softening skin, preventing water loss from the skin and providing the skin with fatty acids. Vegetable oils are best as they are far more nutrient dense than mineral oil.  We use a blend so that there are many different fatty acids. Humectants are also an important ingredient in a moisturizer to help hold water. Good humectants include be glycerin, hyaluronic acid, herb extracts, proteins, sorbitol, or algae extract. There is a wide range of humectants that benefit skin.

A good moisturizer should also contain antioxidants because they can help repair skin damage. There are many antioxidants, but some that we like to use include vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, green tea, vitamin E, and a variety of herb extracts.

There are no absolute differences between a day cream and a night cream so you really don’t need two different moisturizers for day and night.

An important thing to note though is that a day cream should not contain ingredients that might cause photosensitivity or make the skin more sensitive to sun damage. These include alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid), and retinoids (retinyl acetate, retinol).

Texture is also a big difference. Night creams tend to contain heavier emollients and be oilier than a day cream. A day cream should be light enough and soak in well enough that you can apply makeup immediately after using. But this also is a matter of preference as well as climate. In a drier climate you may want a heavier cream during the day as well as night. Some day creams will also contain a sunscreen ingredient. If yours does not you may want to consider applying a sunscreen on top of your day cream or wear a hat.

Many companies will formulate a night cream to be more of a repair product containing actives to repair and rejuvenate skin. Skin is always undergoing repair processes though so these ingredients are just as beneficial in a day cream.  Colorado Aromatics Springtide Face Cream has humectants, antioxidants and repair ingredients that might be found in a night cream but has a nice light feel for day.

Giving Tuesday for AICR

For Giving Tuesday, Colorado Aromatics will donate a portion of our sales to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Cancer has always been an interest of mine. As a child I went door to door collecting money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. My biochemistry Ph.D. research and postdoctoral work was centered around mechanisms for cancer cell growth. I worked on growth factors, protein kinases and signal transduction mechanisms that are involved in cancer growth. The most remarkable conclusion I came away with from this research is knowing how complicated the disease is and that cancer is a much easier disease to prevent than to treat. I have also lost two siblings to cancer, so cancer touches me in many ways on many levels.

lab tubes

 

AICR was formed in 1982 and I have always supported them, only morally initially until I was able to support them financially. AICR does a number of things. They raise funds to provide grant support for cancer research, they analyze studies to make recommendations for cancer prevention and they educate the public on what they can do to lower their risk for cancer.

AICR’s research focuses on how food, nutrition, physical activity and weight management affect the development, treatment and survival of cancer. Self responsibility can sometimes be hard for people to hear. Its far easier for us to insist on a cure, a pill that we can take to stay healthy or to cure our illnesses. When the responsibility comes back to fall in our lap its a little harder to swallow. But yes, very good scientific studies show that there are steps each of us can take to decrease our risk of cancer.

Based on the results of scientific research, these are the recommendations the AICR makes for cancer prevention:

  1. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
  2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. Limit sedentary habits.
  3. Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.
  4. Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.
  5. Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.
  6. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day.
  7. Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).
  8. Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer.
  9. * It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months and then add other liquids and foods.
  10. * After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

*Special Population Recommendations

And do not smoke or use chewing tobacco.

Even better is that by following these guidelines you also decrease your risk for diabetes and heart disease.

I try to follow these guidelines, but have to admit that I could definitely be more lean, exercise more and decrease my alcohol consumption. I always hope that being vegetarian makes up for some of this.

The AICR estimates that over 1/3 of all cancers could be prevented if these guidelines were followed. How do you feel knowing that you have that kind of power over your health? The power to decrease your cancer risk by over 30%?

I think the work that AICR does is important which is why I am supporting it with a donation for Giving Tuesday. This includes not just sales made on Giving Tuesday but for sales made through our website all week long. Shop here.

Even if you do not purchase from Colorado Aromatics you can still donate here.

In Memory of Jody Jones and Gary Jones.