Not All Lavenders Are Created Equal

Remember how I mentioned the “lavender” bath salts I tried giving Martha before I knew that there was a difference between high end lavender and grocery store lavender? After doing some research, I can attest to how wrong I was. So. Wrong.

Let’s break it down:

“Lavender”:  A lot of products in grocery stores with a “lavender” scent may not even have actual lavender in it.  It’s like “grape” gum. I’ve never tasted a real grape that smelled anything like grape-flavored gum but it’s what the market has decided “grape” tastes like so that’s what we’ve come to expect.  Same goes for lavender.  A lot of people out there (maybe even you!) have only encountered the most false versions of lavender and believe that you’re allergic to or dislike the smell of lavender.  If the ingredient deck says nothing of “lavendin” or  some form of “lavandula”, back away slowly and move on to something real.

A Field of Lavendin

Lavendin: Even though (or maybe because) Lavendin is a hybrid of lavandula angustifolia (often called True Lavender) and lavender spica (Spiky Lavender), it’s a totally sterile plant that can’t reproduce on its own. Despite its sterility, lavendin is by far the most prevalent form of lavender in soaps, toothpastes, everything because it smells so lovely. It has to be cloned, which is why most lavender fields you see look eerily symmetrical and tidy.  Lavendin, however, doesn’t guarantee all the healing properties that lavandula angustifolia provides, so OHA primarily uses lavendin to cover up the not-so-pleasant smelliness of unrefined olive oil, pumpkin seed oil and rose hip seed oil. It also does well at the basic lavender functions, like being antispasmodic and a stress reliever.

A Field of True Lavender

Lavandula Angustifolia (True Lavender):  Ahhh, now the really good stuff. When other skin care companies use this variety of lavender, they dilute it like crazy because it’s so expensive. This lavender is not skin sensitizing so it’s safe for almost every skin type. The most precious sub-species of lavendula angustifolia is Population Lavender, grown from seeds in France. It is among the most therapeutically complex and beneficial lavender oils in the world.  Talk about freakisly expensive, but OHA uses it because it’s what’s best for your skin. Different climates, altitudes, and even insects can affect the structure and therapeutic strengths of a lavender plant, so OHA sources lavender from all around the world, including the Pacific Northwest, Tasmania, France, Bulgaria, and the Himalayas. This guarantees that you get all the possible therapeutic benefits of lavender when you use OHA’s skin care system. Why is that cool?  See below:

Lavender Angustifolia’s benefits include:

* treating eczema, psoriasis, burns, bronchial disorders, migraines, wounds, parasitic infection
* relaxant, sleep aid and stress reliever
* antibacterial, antispasmodic, a circulatory stimulant and antiseptic
* regulates skin functions and stimulates cellular growth and regeneration
* brings balance to all skin types, including acneic, dry, normal, sensitive and oily
* heals open wounds or surgical wounds
* it turns you and your friends into unicorns. I’m kidding. I just wanted to see you if you were still with me.

Enlightening stuff, eh?  It just reminds me of what an honor it is to be using and working around the most beautiful ingredients available.

Want to see the OHA products that are rich in lavender? Check out the links below:

Facial Sugar Scrub

Hydrating Mist

Daily Moisturizer

Night Cream

Intensive Nutrient Complex

Lip Line Treatment

Until Next Wednesday,

Meg

PS: If you have questions, thoughts, or musings about the meaning of life, leave a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!

Happy New Year, OHA Customers!

I want to introduce myself. My name is Martha and I am the formulator and owner of OHA BioActive Skin Care.  I am thrilled that so many of you share my passion for luminous skin and unsurpassed, organic ingredient quality, teeming with life. It is important that you know OHA is formulated first and foremost with love and the intention of healing and balancing skin. Our inclusive and unique concept utilizes the pure essences of Nature through our wondrous unrefined botanical oils and extracts, nutrients, minerals, essential oils and flower essences.  Our ingredients and the people who produce them are the “BEST OF THE BEST”.

Your dedication to using OHA, organic skin care that is formulated within a co-creative partnership with Nature, is revolutionary and will have a major impact on our realization of overall health and true beauty. Know that you are now considered part of the OHA movement. This movement will evolve the importance of our skin and the many roles it plays in our daily life experience. Skin matters. And nothing matters more to skin than a daily dose of Nature.

I look forward to getting to know each of you this year. I send out a New Year’s resolution that we will all love ourselves more, trust more and honor our unique beauty. Remembering our soul expresses itself most dramatically through our skin. May 2010 nourish and support the one and only you and your well being.

Thank you for loving OHA and providing me the opportunity to express my passion. Deepest gratitude.


Who Is Meg?

After a couple of months on board the OHA team, I realized that most of you, our fabulous customers, have yet to meet me or know what I’m doing here.

Martha and MegI’m Meg. I grew up in the beautiful Northwest, have been playing cello since fifth grade and my best friend is Drea. Drea and I became friends when we were both awkward sixth graders in gym class. My own home life was tricky and stressful, so I spent a lot of time with Drea and her mom, Martha. Yes, that Martha, the formulator of all your favorite skin nourishing products.

Martha’s home was my second home, where I got to sniff all of her special formulas, learn about Martha’s new research (she was doing yoga well before Madonna even sat on a mat), play duets (cello and viola) and hang out with Drea, and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere that Martha had created. It was an aromatic bubble away from my parent’s house. It was here that I learned about how essential oils are ACTUALLY supposed to smell and that Martha is a total stickler about ingredients.

Take, for instance, the bath salts I got her one year. They were “lavender” bath salts, the kind that you’d find in a grocery store. I thought, “Martha loves lavender. This will be right up her alley.” Martha graciously accepted them but, when I saw them stored under the sink several months later, I asked Drea why Martha hadn’t used them yet. Drea was always good at putting things bluntly: “Mom’s really picky about that sort of thing”. I’m sure those bath salts didn’t even have real lavender in them, much less organic, therapeutic, fairly traded lavender. I wasn’t even close.

This super pickiness kind of blew my mind. There was a difference between grocery store lavender and the lavender Martha bought from overseas? You could be choosey about what you put on your skin and your choosiness would make a difference? I always liked the idea of “all natural” but didn’t know there were so many labeling tricks by very unnatural companies. Developing my opinions about ingredients in Martha’s home sparked my love for high quality, natural products.

Fast forward through awkward middle school, music-filled high school, four years in the midwest at Oberlin College only to stay in the midwest (in Chicago) with my boyfriend, Matt. Matt and I visit Seattle once or twice a year and, on one of these visits, Martha asked me to join her skin care team. I can’t think of a better fit for my life: I have another reason to move back to Seattle, I get to work with Martha and be a part of a company I believe in, and I will be surrounded by lovely smells again.

So, that’s me and why I’m thrilled to be here, sharing the OHA love. Until next time!

-Meg

Click Here to see Meg’s Can’t-Live-Without, Wish-It-Came-in-a-Barrel Product

Coconuts: Not Just for Pina Coladas

You could probably tell that we love coconut oil. It’s in over half of the OHA product line.

Cleansing Milk

Intensive Nutrient Complex

Lip Line Treatment

Daily Moisturizer

Night Cream

Vanilla Bean & Shea Body Butter

Virgin Coconut Oil has Vitamin E and antioxidant fatty acids that help our body retain and absorb nutrients. Coconut Oil is a uniquely beneficial ingredient. It provides nutrients and assists absorption of other nutrients because it contains medium chain fatty acid chains not present in other oils. This means it doesn’t take any extra energy from our bodies to absorb, use or store nutrients. Coconut Oil also has a long history of use as an emollient and healing moisturizer for the skin and scalp.

Antioxidants and Free Radicals : Why the Hype?

raspberriesAntioxidant. It’s the buzziest buzz word in the health and beauty world these days. If you’re at all like me, you probably heard it and accepted it as a healthy choice but didn’t really understand it. Let’s talk.

In order to explain antioxidants, I need to first explain free radicals: When the skin and body are confronted with toxins, UV radiation, cigarette smoke, sleep deprivation (…etc) the body produces free radicals. The body even produces them as a result of normal metabolism and immune functions.

Free radicals cause cellular death. While that sounds vaguely terrifying, cellular death isn’t always a negative thing. Sometimes, the ominous-sounding ‘cellular death’ benefits us by killing bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. When the body’s free radical production is in balance with it’s antioxidant supply, things function as they should. The problems begin when the unstable free radicals outweigh the body’s antioxidants. Then, free radicals weaken cells, which can lead to tissue damage (especially around the eyes and mouth, where skin is especially thin).

When skin cells are damaged by an imbalance of free radicals, you’ll start to see wrinkles. Skin cells are frequently attacked by free radicals we encounter on a daily basis; without antioxidants to block it, they’re going to shrivel and have a difficult time regenerating.

This is where antioxidants step in to provide some much-needed balance. An antioxidant is any substance that disables free radicals before they have a chance to oxidize and damage skin cells. Unless you’re willing to hole yourself up away from smoke, stress, and toxins, you have to supplement your skin’s antioxidant stash to keep the balance intact. That’s why OHA is chock full of antioxidants, including Alpha Lipoic Acid, Tocotrienol, Ester-C, Green Tea and Raspberry, Cranberry and Blackberry Seeds. We could all use a little more antioxidant support!

If antioxidants sound appealing, you ought to try:

Intensive Nutrient Complex

Lip Line Treatment

Daily Moisturizer

Night Cream

Under Eye Therapy

What Vitamins Do

Vitamin C Standing in the vitamin aisle of my local grocery store, I suddenly realized I knew next to nothing about vitamins besides that multi-vitamins help compensate for vitamins you can’t get in your diet and that vitamin C helps with the immune system, to stave off colds. My thinking about vitamins didn’t stretch much farther than that.

After some research (and talking with Martha) I found out that vitamins are organic, essential micro nutrients that your body and skin need to perform their day-to-day metabolic activities.  Take, for instance, when you get a paper cut. You’ll bleed a little until the blood clots and then, left alone, it will heal naturally, possibly leaving a little scar. Vitamins help speed up and improve this process by supporting what the skin and body are already doing. Vitamin E will help with the healing of that cut and Vitamin C will aid in collagen production, decreasing the likelihood of scarring. When your skin is supported by vitamins, it will heal quicker, scar less, and protect itself more than it could without vitamins.

When applied directly to the skin, vitamins promote healthy collagen, wound healing, UV protection in addition to healing skin conditions like acne. In most skin care brands, Vitamin C is a popular antioxidant ingredient but, because it breaks down and oxidizes quickly, the inclusion of Vitamin C is useless by the time their product reaches your bathroom cabinet. OHA uses a Vitamin C ester with the fatty acids of palm oil. Used in this way, the Vitamin C is stabilized by its fat soluable coating. This makes it available to the skin as it will be an active antioxidant and able to combine with the naturally-occuring fat soluable coating of the skin. In other words, the esterfied Vitamin C used in OHA’s skin care actually benefits the skin by being more absorbable and active than vitamin C generally used in  other skin care brands.

Find Esterfied C in…

Intensive Nutrient Complex

Daily Moisturizer

Night Cream

Vanilla Bean & Shea Body Butter

When I Get That Feeling, I Want Sea Buckthorn Healing

Sea Buckthorn occurs in more than half of the OHA line as a CO2 extract, meaning it was extracted using (heatless) carbon dioxide extraction. This type of extraction allows the Seabuckthorn to maintain all of its vital nutrients.

Sea Buckthorn assists in the regeneration and reparation of the skin. It heals eczema, rosacea, burns, wounds and sun damage, and also assists in the healing process following cosmetic laser surgery. It contains high amounts of essential fatty acids, carotenes, tocopherols and phytosterols, which all play an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin.

Where can you find Sea Buckthorn in the OHA Line? Check out these products:

Night Cream

Daily Moisturizer

Lip Line Treatment

Intensive Nutrient Complex

The OHA Flame: Five Senses Radiating Beauty

flameHave you ever checked out that little flame symbol on everything related to OHA? It’s on the website, the products, EVERYTHING. It turns out that that little flame represents a whole lot more than you’d think.

The image has five flames that represent each sense. When all of those senses feel fantastic and are in balance with one another, we radiate beauty, a vibrant spirit, and whole-ness, which just so happen to be the ideas behind the whole flame.

Another reason the flame is such a potent symbol for OHA is that the sixth branch of the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah, like the sixth aspect of the flame, signifies beauty. The sixth branch actually grows in the center of the Tree of Life , and signifies “the world of the heart”. This branch is the “mediator between the creative and governing realms above, and the functioning world of action below.”

One last thing that I think is especially cool about OHA and the flame symbol is the major focus on balance. Every sense in balance creates beauty. When it comes to the OHA line, Martha formulated each product so they contain every vibrational intensity, from the highest vibrations (from flower essences) to the lowest vibrations (from trace minerals). All of the ingredients have a vitality and life force to communicate to us and, when in harmony with each other, lead the skin to balance.

Other burning Questions? Click here!

How Hydrosols Work for All Skin Types

iStock_000009150487XSmallOur Hydrating Mist contains hydrosols, which are commonly called ‘floral waters’. Real hydrosols are actually the first products that result from the plant distillation process, followed by essential oils. Although it would be significantly less expensive to mix water and essential oils for a toning water (as most botanical skin care lines do), we use real hydrosols because all skin types, even the most sensitive, can absorb and benefit from them.

OHA uses rose and lavender hydrosols due to their immense healing and soothing properties. You can even use them on babies! Hydrosols are not as bioactive as other compounds but their ability to gently soothe and hydrate is well worth it.

Click Here to check out our Hydrating Mist

Tea Tree: Anti-Bad & Pro-Good

herbsOur Facial Sugar Scrub contains classic tea tree oil plus two additional, unique types of tea tree: lavender and lemon. Tea tree addresses breakouts and inflammatory responses by being antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.

Because tea tree is such a potent, healing oil, it was used on American Soldiers to alleviate gangrene in the Vietnam War and, to this day, Australians keep tea tree in their first aid kits. Tea tree also helps ward off head lice, heal itchy bug bites and diminish the appearance of cellulite.

While tea tree does all of this for your skin, it also offers a boost to your overall immune system.

Please note that tea tree oil can be irritating on chapped or burnt skin.

Click here to see the Facial Sugar Scrub

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