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Olive Oil: From Dinner Table to Beauty Counter

Olive oil’s lush history is as deep and rich as the golden hued substance itself. Native to Mediterranean countries, ancient cultures used olive oil for a variety of every day purposes such as food, fuel, beauty and possibly currency, and evidence suggests production began over 5,000 years ago. Revered for its health benefits, olive oil is the number one recommended fat for cooking and is now a staple of modern kitchens, but olive oil’s health benefits don’t stop with food. Olive oil is used to maintain the health of skin, nails and hair.

Moisturizer

Dry skin leads to redness, flaking and cracking, especially in dry climates. Olive oil’s ability to penetrate deep into the skin to deliver nutrients and hydration restores skin’s suppleness. Olive oil paired with a gentle exfoliant like sea salt or sugar also helps renew skin’s natural glow by removing dead cells without stripping skin of its natural oils.

Recommended products: Organic Skin & Nail Balm, Almond Body Polish, Lavender Mint Body Polish, Men’s Essentials Shaving Crème

Antioxidant

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Ingredient Spotlight: 3 Benefits of Cocoa Butter

Richly hued with the faint scent of chocolate, cocoa butter (Theobroma Cacao) is the naturally occurring fat in cocoa pods that is extracted by cold-pressing dried and fermented cocoa beans. Cocoa pods also produce cocoa liquor and cocoa powder, used in the production of delicious chocolate. Purportedly used by the Aztec and Mayan civilizations for medicinal and dietary reasons, cocoa butter is now found in cosmetics and skincare for the following skin nurturing benefits.

Anti Aging

High concentrations of fatty acids (oleic, palmitic and stearic), vitamins (A, B1, B2 and B3) and antioxidants (vitamins C and E) fight free radicals. Free radicals cause tissue damage, increasing the signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging skin. Fatty acids also help cocoa butter penetrate the top layer of skin, lending to cocoa butter’s nickname, “ultimate moisturizer”.

Regeneration

Cocoa butter has been used for centuries to reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Although there is limited research regarding the correlation between cocoa butter and disappearing scars, a few small studies showing the potential for cocoa butter to maintain skin’s suppleness and elasticity. Because hydration is known for improving the appearance of skin, applying moisturizing cocoa butter can be effective in reducing scars.

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The Art of Aromatherapy Part 3: Essential Oil Uses

Used across the globe for centuries, plant essences played a substantial role in medicinal preparations and religious ceremonies. These essences evolved to what we now know as essential oils. While still used for medical and religious purposes, essential oils developed a contemporary following for skincare and household applications. Here are some tips and recipes for practicing with essential oils. Let me know in the comments how you use your favorite essential oils.

Diffusing

Create a romantic, uplifting, relaxing or other desirable ambiance by diffusing essential oils in your home. People diffuse oils purely for the love of a scent, aromatherapy benefits or both. Whatever your reason, it is recommended you use an electric nebulizer or diffuser (steam or fan) to maintain the molecular integrity of the compound because essential oils can breakdown if exposed to heat. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the diffuser, per the unit’s instruction, to enjoy the aroma throughout your house. As an added bonus, a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy suggests diffusing essential oils could be effective in fighting certain air born bacteria.

Skin Care

Customize your Lemongrass Spa products with your special essential oil blend by adding essential oils to an unscented product. Here’s a guideline to help you make your own essential oil creation.

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Posted by on in Natural Ingredients
Ingredient Spotlight: Coconut Oil

The coconut fruit has provided meat, water, milk and oil to tropical communities for thousands of years and has been deemed “The Tree of Life” by Asian and Pacific islanders for its extensive dietary and medicinal applications. Mentions of the medicinal benefits of the coconut can be found in ancient Sanskrit text, and coconut oil is used in Ayurvedic medicine, an alternative healing process from India estimated to be 5000 years old. Traditional medicinal applications of coconut oil include fevers, nausea, rashes, toothaches, ulcers, colds, lice, bruises and more. 

At the end of World War II, coconut oil was found in the United States in the form of margarine, but it soon fell out of favor as a household staple due studies concluding all saturated fats increased cholesterol and risk for heart disease. It is now believed coconut’s unique combination of short and medium chained fatty acids, primarily lauric acid and myristic acid, precludes it from negatively impacting health.

Coconut oil isn’t just for cooking or alternative medicine; it’s one of the most widely used natural oils in personal care. Coconut oil is touted for its ability to do everything from repairing damaged hair to reducing wrinkles to blocking UV rays. Where there is little clinical evidence of coconut oil being a beauty miracle, there is plenty of antidotal evidence coconut oil is a master moisturizer and potent antioxidant.

Coconut oil is pressed from the seeds of the coconut palm tree and is comprised of fatty acids including lauric, linoleic, myristic, oleic, caprylic, capric, stearic and palmitric. Studies on the skin care benefits of these fatty acids lead skin care experts to believe coconut oil isn’t all hype. For example, lauric acid and caprylic acid could both be effective in fighting acne due to antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin E and vitamin D, potent antioxidants that protects skin from free radical damage, joins this fatty acid super group. Coconut oil penetrates the skin, making it the perfect vehicle to deliver the benefits of other natural oils and botanical extracts.

Nourish your body from head to toe with coconut oil by trying a few of these exfoliating, moisturizing and cleansing products:

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An unexpected member of the lily family, aloe vera has been called the “natural healer” and a “miracle plant”. The aloe vera plant has thick fleshy green leaves that secrete a clear gel used in medicinal preparations dating back to ancient cultures. The earliest confirmed record of aloe was found on a Sumarien tablet from 2100 BC, but it is believed a detailed description of aloe preparations was found on an Egyptian document dated at 1550 BC.

Two forms of aloe vera are traditionally used for healing and health: the gel and juice. Aloe vera gel is the jelly-like substance removed from the inner part of the leaf, while aloe juice is extracted by soaking and softening the entire leaf then filtering out unwanted materials. Aloe latex, a yellow-brown substance found under the plant’s skin, can be used for some applications, but there is little evidence aloe latex provides the health benefits of the gel or juice.

The aloe plant is approximately 99% water. Healing compounds found in aloe gel are polysaccharides and glycoproteins. Polysaccharides are said to stimulate skin growth and repair, and glycoproteins can speed the healing process by stopping pain and inflammation Aloe vera is said to reduce pain and inflammation as well as stimulate healing when applied topically. Antidotal and historical evidence suggests aloe to be favored for the following skin care concerns:

Sunburns*

Soothing sunburns is the most popular use for aloe products because people find aloe and aloe products to be cooling.

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