INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT

Gettin Nerdy with Clay

I, for one, am a HUGE clay mask lover and user, but how exactly do they work? Clays are negatively charged ions (an atom or molecule with an electric charge) and toxins (in this case bacteria) are positively charged. This is where the magic happens... The negative charge of the clay attracts the positive charge of the bacteria, pulling it out of the pores, thus detoxing! But there are so many types of clay! Which is best for you?

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Here is a list for some of the most commonly used clays in facial masks:

BENTONITE clay is mined from volcanic ash deposits and is one of the most powerful detoxing clays around. It is a bit unusual in that it swells when water or liquid is added to it, like a sponge soaking in water. Bentonite clay's negative ions are activated when mixed with water and is unparalleled in its ability to draw out toxins and bacteria. Remember when you were stung by a bee as a child and your mother applied mud to draw out the poison? That is basically what this clay is doing! WORKS BEST FOR: Bentonite "drinks" in oils along with bacteria and is, therefore, perfect for those with oily skin and are prone to acne or hormonal breakouts. Since this type of clay is so drawing it is best used once every week or once every two weeks. Bentonite clay is the base of our Charcoal Burdock Mask along with extracts of white willow, burdock root, olive leaf, and chamomile flower powder, making it a skin-cleansing, acne-fighting powerhouse.

FRENCH GREEN CLAY is traditionally mined in France from naturally occurring deposits with its signature green color coming from decomposed plant matter! Its strength is medium to mild and is best used once a week or as a spot treatment. WORKS BEST FOR: Individuals with somewhat oily or normal skin with occasional breakouts. French Green Clay forms the base of our Lavender Matcha Mask which contains matcha green tea powder, green tea extract, spinach powder (yup! spinach), cucumber extract, and lavender flower powder, making it a deeply cleansing, antioxidant-rich mask.

KAOLIN CLAY is the most gentle of all the clays, but still is able to stimulate the flow of flesh blood to the surface of the skin and to gently detox without pulling too much of the skin's naturally occurring oils. WORKS BEST FOR: Sensitive to dry skin types.

ROSE CLAY is considered to be a type of kaolin clay with some naturally occurring iron oxides, making is a beautiful pink/rosey color. WORKS BEST FOR: Oily/normal/combination skin types.

FULLERS CLAY is also known as a "whitening clay" and has been used for its skin-lightening abilities. It has strong absorbing qualities and is often paired with bentonite clay. WORKS BEST FOR: Combination to oil skin types with uneven tone.

SEA CLAY is mined from ancient sea beds and are rich in minerals and skin-nourishing algae. WORKS BEST FOR: Oily skin types

RHASSOUL CLAY is mined from natural deposits in the Atlas Mountains of Morrocco and has been used for centuries to cleanse, detoxify, and actually reduce dryness! It is high in magnesium and silicas and is used mainly to gently cleanse the skin and hair. WORKS BEST FOR: Normal to dry skin types.

I hope you find this information as fascinating as I do and just a few last tips.

-Mixing clay masks in non-metals bowls with non-metal utensils is preferred. Why? Metal is positively charged and can prematurely activate the negative charge of the clay, reducing its detoxing ability. We just received these GORGEOUS ceramic mask mixing bowls from a local artist; paired with these vegan mask mixing brushes, you are ready to mask! 

-Mix your clay masks with warm water or better yet, with herbal infusions (tea). Or use a facial steam (ahem, the Coconut Green Tea Facial is the perfect all-in-on) before applying your mask, by doing this you are preparing your pores to open, encouraging them to relinquish the bacteria easier. Adding the warm infusion from the facial steam to the mix will activate the botanicals in the masks themselves (ie the chamomile in the Charcoal Burdock Mask and lavender and green tea in the Lavender Matcha Mask).

-If you have very dry skin but still want the detoxing and toning benefits of using a clay mask, try adding a drop or two of your favorite facial oil or serum (Sun Worshiper Repair Serum or the Green Tea Serum are a few of my suggestions).

-Since clays ARE drying, I recommend following them with a facial toning mist and a good facial oil or cream. Also, as tempting as it is, do not use clay masks every day. They are meant to be a detox and reset for your skin and should be used once a week at the most. More frequently if just using as spot treatments.

I hoped you enjoyed all this information and happy masking! xo

How to: Light Charcoal Disk for Resin Incense

Burning resin is a whole other incense experience and often a little more difficult to light. The key is using self-igniting charcoal disks and here is how you do it...

When using charcoal disks or any other burnable make sure to use non-flammable dishes, bowls, or plates. A little bit of sand or small pebbles work really well as a base for the charcoal disk

One of the easiest ways of lighting the charcoal disk is using a candle and tongs. Any type of tongs work, those that you cook with, special charcoal disk tongs, needle nose plyers, or tweezers if you are really in a bind.

Hold the disk's bottom over the flame until it starts to crackle, then do the same to the top. Then place the now VERY hot disk on the sand or directly on the dish (the resin will leave some residue so use a dish that you don't mind designating as your incense dish. We have some of those too :) 

Sprinkle some copal resin and palo santo dust from the Copal Palo Santo Incense Kit, or any other resin onto the center of the disk. 

The resin and dust melt and then burn, creating a smoke that is amazingly light and intoxicating. If you have ever visited Mexico or Mexico City, this will transport you back. There is quite a bit of smoke, it can fill a room/house rather quickly, so I like to put the dish just out a window or front door and let the breeze waft small in amounts. You can also try to snap the disk in the half so it doesn't burn as long. If you need more self-igniting charcoal disks here is a link for more.

NEW PRODUCTS ON THEIR WAY!

The Prickly Pear Eye + Face Elixir is getting a look! Better and more appropriate, high-end packaging for the queen of oils.

The Prickly Pear Eye + Face Elixir is getting a look! Better and more appropriate, high-end packaging for the queen of oils.

Just in time for Valentine's Day! The Love Care gift set!

Just in time for Valentine's Day! The Love Care gift set!

I teamed up with my friend Cassie, owner of Let's Put a Bird On It, and created this essential oil soy wax candle, perfectly balanced aromas of ritual smoke and sensuos florals

I teamed up with my friend Cassie, owner of Let's Put a Bird On It, and created this essential oil soy wax candle, perfectly balanced aromas of ritual smoke and sensuos florals

The Love Care gift is set to launch next week!!

FEATURES

GRAY AESTHETIC REVIEW

I had the wonderful pleasure of working and collaborating with Taylor of Gray Aesthetic, for some insightful product reviews and giveaway! Head to her blog to read about what she thought about the Rose Rosehip Body Oil, Cactus Face Polish, Prickly Pear Elixir, Green Tea Serum, Vanilla Butter, and Cheeks Lips Blush Stick. Follow her Instagram for a change to win some of these! 

SPRING WEEDS AND PLANT FRIENDS

We have been so fortunate to still be receiving the occasional rain here in the foothills of Northern California, creating the most spectacular wildflower display. So many of these wildflowers are normally considered weeds and a pestilence, but many of them are powerful healers and edible delights. Take yourself on a little walk around your neighborhood and take a closer look at the greenery and blossoms and say hello, making new plant friends. 

Castilleja coccinea, INDIAN PAINTBRUSH

NON-EDIBLE but can be used to remove pollutants from the soil due to its ability to absorb and store large quantities of selenium in the roots and green parts. Also, just a gorgeous wildflower to behold. source

Claytonia perfoliata, MINER'S LETTUCE

WHEN TO HARVEST: For the best flavor, harvest December through April, preferably before the flowers begin to form. 

The common name miner's lettuce refers to its use by California Gold Rush miners who ate it to get their vitamin C to prevent scurvy. It can be eaten as a leaf vegetable. Most commonly it is eaten raw in salads, but it is not quite as delicate as other lettuce. Sometimes it is boiled like spinach. source

Mimulus aurantiacusSTICKY MONKEY FLOWER

WHEN TO HARVEST: Grows year round and generally blossoms spring through summer.

The whole plant is edible. Make a mint/sage tasting tea with the leaves or sugar the blossoms for a dessert garnish. Sticky Monkey Flower Essence aids in elevating anxiety and fear. source 12

Pseudognaphalium beneolens, FRAGRANT EVERLASTING

WHEN TO HARVEST: In summer when blossoms are most fragrant. Its aroma faintly resembles maple syrup.

A tea of everlasting is useful for lung problems and intestinal problems, including hemorrhage. The dried flowers are used like hops for a calming herb pillow. source

Vicia cracca, PURPLE COW VETCH

NON-EDIBLE but has been used as a valuable cover crop due to its nitrogen-fixing properties. It also provides a much appreciated source of nectar by bees and butterflies. source

Galium aparine, CLEAVERS

WHEN TO HARVEST: Young shoots in early spring and the tops of older shoots as the season progresses into summer. An easy way to ID cleavers is by their sticky, clingy hairs on the underside of the leaves.

Cleavers' diuretic properties helps cleanse the body of waste and toxins especially by improving the flow of lymph through lymph nodes. Make a tea from dry or fresh cleavers, or lightly roasted cleavers seeds make for an excellent tasting coffee alternative. source 1, 2, 3

Matricaria matricarioides, PINEAPPLE WEED

WHEN TO HARVEST: Spring to late summer. When finely divided the foliage gives off a pineapple smell when crushed. You have undoubtably seen this plant growing between the cracks in the your driveway and in between brick/pavers.

Young flower buds in salads, or fresh or dried to make a tea. Pineapple weed flower s and leaves are a tasty finger food while hiking or toss in salads. source 1, 2

Avena fatua, OATSTRAW, OAT TOPS

WHEN TO HARVEST: Once the seed heads appear and become plump, squeeze the tops daily to make sure you don’t miss the milky stage. Harvesting the tops is easy and fun – just pinch the stem between two fingers, slide up the stem, and the grains will pop off one at a time.

Oat tops and oatstraw have nervine qualities, and are thus a favorite amongst herbalists for supporting the nervous system. Generally, young tops can be make into a tincture or they can be used in the a healing bath. source 1, 2

Capsella bursa-pastoris, SHEPARD'S PURSE

WHEN TO HARVEST: Summer

When dried, shepard's purse can be infused and taken as a tea that is said to help heal hemorrhages and bleeding of all kinds - of the stomach, the lungs, or the uterus, and more especially bleeding from the kidneys. source

 Trifolium pratense, RED CLOVER

WHEN TO HARVEST: Spring when the pink, purplish flowers bloom.

Red clover is well renown for its ability to treat estrogen imbalances, lower cholesterol, stimulate urination, boost circulation, strengthen bones, protect the immune system, reduce hypertension, and aid the cardiovascular system. source 1, 2

When harvesting herbs and plants make sure to do thorough research that you are correctly identifying and taking care to not over-harvest. I hope this blog post ignites a curiosity for learning more about the amazing benefits of the plants that surround us.

FEATURES

FEATURE: BEIJOS EVENTS

Beijos Events featured the Jasmine Ylang Ylang Body Oil, Salt Rose Herbal Soak, Matcha Sugar Scrub, and the Sun Worshiper Repair Serum in their March Spotlight. Read their wonderful review of the Jasmine Ylang Ylang Body Oil below and check out what else they had to say about the other products  here and check out their gorgeous site.

 

I had a good friend that lives in Santa Cruz recommend to me URB APOTHECARY. She said that I would fall in love with the products and never want to use anything else again. I jumped onto the website and checked them out, and oh boy was she right! Just a 1st glance, the packaging is so cool, and well they are local to Northern California so its a huge plus in my book. I love using products from companies right out of my backyard.

Awwww.. the Jasmine Ylang Ylang Body Oil. I love Jasmine. Nothing better then a warm sunny day when the warm wind hits you with the scent of jasmine from a near by bush. Did you know that Jasmine is a natural aphrodisiac? Heyyyyy Now!  Ylang Ylang… say what your saying? Well Ylang Ylang when used as an applied essential oil helps maintain healthy skin and nervous system and can be a effective remedy for seborrhea. Use this oil right when you get out of the shower when your skin is still a bit damp. You can also use this when you have been out in the sun as it contains calendula infused sunflower oil which helps with sun burns, retains moisture, and giving you that healthy glow.

 

Photos by Jessie Salas Photography

DIY, TEA

ROOTS: LIVER TONIC TEA

Fall is a season in which plants are drawing in their energy, creating reserves for the diminishing sunlight and harsh cold weather. They are in essence sloughing off anything that could hinder their journey through winter.

The changing season is a perfect time for us to do the same, to cleanse and lighten our burdened liver. It has over 500 different functions. One such action is filtering nearly 100 gallons of blood, cleansing it of toxins, dead cells, kidney waste, alcohol, bacteria and much more. As with any filter, they can become bogged down and over-worked, making detoxing and supporting the liver key in its healthy functioning and ultimately to our overall well-being.

Burdock and ginger root are powerful blood purifiers, liver aids and tonics. Ginger promotes increases blood circulation and it's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties reduce oxidative stress on the liver, decreasing insulin resistance and inhibiting inflammation.  About burbock root, herbalist James Green summarizes, "Burdock root works through the liver and kidneys to protect against the build-up of waste products and is considered to be one of the best tonic corrective skin disorders as well."

BURDOCK AND GINGER ROOT TEA

  • 4-5 thin slices of fresh burdock root or 2 teaspoons of dried root
  • 3-4 thin slices of fresh ginger of 1-2 teaspoons of dried root
  • 1 tablespoon of wild honey
  • Bring water to a boil, let stand for about 30-60 seconds before pouring into a mug
  • Let steep for about 3-6 minutes. Add more honey if you prefer

Wonderful additions to this tea are turmeric root, dandelion root and lemon juice.

I enjoy this tea in the morning with lemon and at night with a little more honey.

Enjoy! And cheers to your liver.

 

-THE HERBAL MEDICINE-MAKER'S HANDBOOK, James Green

URB APOTHECARY IS A FINALIST!

I am so excited and honored to share the wonderful news that URB APOTHECARY is one of two finalists for the Whole Foods Market Small Business grant.  Each store in the Northern California and Reno region choose two small businesses to be finalists and compete for the grant. Voting will  determine the final grant recipient and will take place May 11-26th. I would be honored if you would vote for URB APOTHECARY and help me attain this amazing opportunity to take my small business to a new level. The voting link will be released soon! Stay tuned.