How to Use OHA: Keep it Simple and See Great Results

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We’ve talked a lot about combining OHA but chances are, you’ve probably never gotten a visual for what this process looks like. When you’re applying your moisturizer and serum and mist, the best method we’ve discovered is to combine the trio in the palm of your hand (as shown in the picture on the left). Once all three products are in the palm of your hand, mix them together with a finger or by rubbing your palms together. Then, apply the mixture in upward strokes to your face and neck. The Hydrating Mist allows the moisturizer and serum to penetrate the skin more deeply and spread more evenly than if you applied them separately. It also maintains the pH balance of your skin that ensures penetration, moisture retention, and overall skin health. It’s better for your skin AND it cuts the time you need to spend on your skin care routine.

Argan: I’ve Run Out of Ways to Say “Antioxidant”

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Argan seems to be popping up all over the place. Ever since we released CoQ10 & Argan Face Cream, it seems like the question on everyone’s mind is, “What is so special about argan oil?” Well, there’s a whole lot of special about argan oil!

FAST FACTS: The argan tree generally grows in Morocco but you can also find it in Algeria. It grows fruit that take over a year to get to harvest. Inside that fruit is a hard nut or kernel that’s rich in oil. According to Nadim A. Shaath, Ph.D’s article “Argan Oil: Miracle Ingredient?”, “argan is one of the rarest oils in the world” because it’s grown in so few places and it takes the yield of eight entire argan trees to produce 1 liter of argan oil.

FAIR TRADE WORK OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN: “The vast majority of the production of argan oil passes through women’s cooperatives through programs that focus on improving the working conditions of rural women…”. Not only does it provide opportunities for women, it also provides job opportunities: “According to the Moroccan Department of Water and Forests, argan oil currently provides income for 3 million people in the southern part of the Kingdom of Morocco.”

A Morroccan Woman Grinding Argan Kernels

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: “Argan contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids and is rich in essential fatty acids…Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized by humans and must be obtained through diet or skin absorption. EFAs are structural components of cell membranes and are necessary for regulating healthy skin and premature aging. They perform vital roles in sebum production…EFAs have antioxidant properties and form a thin, impermeable film that prevents skin moisture loss.”

CAROTENOIDS: “Carotenoids are a class of plant-derived pigments which protect eyes and skin from UV radiation and free radical damage, help maintain the immune system, promote healthy skin and inhibit cancer cell proliferation.” The carotenoids in argan (neoxanthin, violaxanthin and zeaxanthin) are especially effective when used topically for sun protection.

POLYPHENOLS: These are powerful antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and anti-aging components in argan oil. It helps prevent ultraviolet damage.

SQUALENE: It’s an “antioxidant oil that…penetrates more deeply and readily than most other oils. Human sebum, the skin’s own moisturizer, is 25% squalene, making externally-derived squalene highly compatible with skin lipids. Squalene has been shown to positively affect mature and rosacea skin….and has been effective in the treatment of dermatitis and skin cancer.” Argan has more squalene than olive oil!

VITAMIN E: I feel like a broken record, but Vitamin E is a fabulous antioxidant. IT “accumulates in the epidermis and forms a barrier against moisture evaporation from the skin, prevents cellular aging due to oxidation, aids in bringing nourishment to cells, decreases inflammation, and strengthens capillary walls. They significantly help in the reduction of scarring from wounds and the appearance of stretch marks. “

GREAT FOR DRYNESS: “Argan oil’s skin moisturizing properties correct dryness and improve skin elasticity.”

Goats Eating Argan Kernels in an Argan Tree

How could we not use Argan Oil, especially combined with the collagen-boosting super powers of CoQ10? After all, we Seattle folks are serious foodies, so it only makes sense that our skin care is chock full of ingredients that are also edible. Argan is no exception. Check out these goats eating the nutritious fruit from an argan tree! Internally, argan oil helps with cholesterol and macular degeneration. Externally, it’s a fabulous antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and anti-aging moisturizer.

 

 

Argan: I’ve Run Out of Ways to Say “Antioxidant”

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Argan seems to be popping up all over the place. Ever since we released CoQ10 & Argan Face Cream, it seems like the question on everyone’s mind is, “What is so special about argan oil?” Well, there’s a whole lot of special about argan oil!

FAST FACTS: The argan tree generally grows in Morocco but you can also find it in Algeria. It grows fruit that take over a year to get to harvest. Inside that fruit is a hard nut or kernel that’s rich in oil. According to Nadim A. Shaath, Ph.D’s article “Argan Oil: Miracle Ingredient?”, “argan is one of the rarest oils in the world” because it’s grown in so few places and it takes the yield of eight entire argan trees to produce 1 liter of argan oil.

FAIR TRADE WORK OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN: “The vast majority of the production of argan oil passes through women’s cooperatives through programs that focus on improving the working conditions of rural women…”. Not only does it provide opportunities for women, it also provides job opportunities: “According to the Moroccan Department of Water and Forests, argan oil currently provides income for 3 million people in the southern part of the Kingdom of Morocco.”

A Morroccan Woman Grinding Argan Kernels

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: “Argan contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids and is rich in essential fatty acids…Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized by humans and must be obtained through diet or skin absorption. EFAs are structural components of cell membranes and are necessary for regulating healthy skin and premature aging. They perform vital roles in sebum production…EFAs have antioxidant properties and form a thin, impermeable film that prevents skin moisture loss.”

CAROTENOIDS: “Carotenoids are a class of plant-derived pigments which protect eyes and skin from UV radiation and free radical damage, help maintain the immune system, promote healthy skin and inhibit cancer cell proliferation.” The carotenoids in argan (neoxanthin, violaxanthin and zeaxanthin) are especially effective when used topically for sun protection.

POLYPHENOLS: These are powerful antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and anti-aging components in argan oil. It helps prevent ultraviolet damage.

SQUALENE: It’s an “antioxidant oil that…penetrates more deeply and readily than most other oils. Human sebum, the skin’s own moisturizer, is 25% squalene, making externally-derived squalene highly compatible with skin lipids. Squalene has been shown to positively affect mature and rosacea skin….and has been effective in the treatment of dermatitis and skin cancer.” Argan has more squalene than olive oil!

VITAMIN E: I feel like a broken record, but Vitamin E is a fabulous antioxidant. IT “accumulates in the epidermis and forms a barrier against moisture evaporation from the skin, prevents cellular aging due to oxidation, aids in bringing nourishment to cells, decreases inflammation, and strengthens capillary walls. They significantly help in the reduction of scarring from wounds and the appearance of stretch marks. “

GREAT FOR DRYNESS: “Argan oil’s skin moisturizing properties correct dryness and improve skin elasticity.”

Goats Eating Argan Kernels in an Argan Tree

How could we not use Argan Oil, especially combined with the collagen-boosting super powers of CoQ10? After all, we Seattle folks are serious foodies, so it only makes sense that our skin care is chock full of ingredients that are also edible. Argan is no exception. Check out these goats eating the nutritious fruit from an argan tree! Internally, argan oil helps with cholesterol and macular degeneration. Externally, it’s a fabulous antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and anti-aging moisturizer.

 

 

Argan: I’ve Run Out of Ways to Say “Antioxidant”

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Argan seems to be popping up all over the place. Ever since we released CoQ10 & Argan Face Cream, it seems like the question on everyone’s mind is, “What is so special about argan oil?” Well, there’s a whole lot of special about argan oil!

FAST FACTS: The argan tree generally grows in Morocco but you can also find it in Algeria. It grows fruit that take over a year to get to harvest. Inside that fruit is a hard nut or kernel that’s rich in oil. According to Nadim A. Shaath, Ph.D’s article “Argan Oil: Miracle Ingredient?”, “argan is one of the rarest oils in the world” because it’s grown in so few places and it takes the yield of eight entire argan trees to produce 1 liter of argan oil.

FAIR TRADE WORK OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN: “The vast majority of the production of argan oil passes through women’s cooperatives through programs that focus on improving the working conditions of rural women…”. Not only does it provide opportunities for women, it also provides job opportunities: “According to the Moroccan Department of Water and Forests, argan oil currently provides income for 3 million people in the southern part of the Kingdom of Morocco.”

A Morroccan Woman Grinding Argan Kernels

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: “Argan contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids and is rich in essential fatty acids…Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized by humans and must be obtained through diet or skin absorption. EFAs are structural components of cell membranes and are necessary for regulating healthy skin and premature aging. They perform vital roles in sebum production…EFAs have antioxidant properties and form a thin, impermeable film that prevents skin moisture loss.”

CAROTENOIDS: “Carotenoids are a class of plant-derived pigments which protect eyes and skin from UV radiation and free radical damage, help maintain the immune system, promote healthy skin and inhibit cancer cell proliferation.” The carotenoids in argan (neoxanthin, violaxanthin and zeaxanthin) are especially effective when used topically for sun protection.

POLYPHENOLS: These are powerful antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and anti-aging components in argan oil. It helps prevent ultraviolet damage.

SQUALENE: It’s an “antioxidant oil that…penetrates more deeply and readily than most other oils. Human sebum, the skin’s own moisturizer, is 25% squalene, making externally-derived squalene highly compatible with skin lipids. Squalene has been shown to positively affect mature and rosacea skin….and has been effective in the treatment of dermatitis and skin cancer.” Argan has more squalene than olive oil!

VITAMIN E: I feel like a broken record, but Vitamin E is a fabulous antioxidant. IT “accumulates in the epidermis and forms a barrier against moisture evaporation from the skin, prevents cellular aging due to oxidation, aids in bringing nourishment to cells, decreases inflammation, and strengthens capillary walls. They significantly help in the reduction of scarring from wounds and the appearance of stretch marks. “

GREAT FOR DRYNESS: “Argan oil’s skin moisturizing properties correct dryness and improve skin elasticity.”

Goats Eating Argan Kernels in an Argan Tree

How could we not use Argan Oil, especially combined with the collagen-boosting super powers of CoQ10? After all, we Seattle folks are serious foodies, so it only makes sense that our skin care is chock full of ingredients that are also edible. Argan is no exception. Check out these goats eating the nutritious fruit from an argan tree! Internally, argan oil helps with cholesterol and macular degeneration. Externally, it’s a fabulous antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and anti-aging moisturizer.

 

 

Organic: Not Just For Skin Care, Anymore

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In the last few months, OHA has found its way onto the shelves of some very exciting places. One of them is a store called Spun, a clothing collective on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Not only does Sara, designer and owner, have a fabulous organic clothing line, she rents out the rest of her racks, tables, and shelves to mostly local indie designers. I’ve been a huge fan of this place since I moved back to Seattle. When I finally realized that Spun would be the perfect space for a local, organic skin care line like OHA, Martha and I visited Sara, got her hopelessly addicted to the Cleansing Milk, and moved in at the beginning of February. We couldn’t be happier about it.

Beyond clothes and OHA, this place has a huge variety of gifts and generally awesome products. I have a difficult time leaving Spun without a bagful of flattering organic clothes, understated and beautiful jewelry and sassy handmade greeting cards. I confessed to Sara the other day that half of my closet is filled with her beautiful clothes.

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, be sure to stop into this gem of a store and feel good knowing that you’re directly supporting local businesses, buying reasonably priced but stunning pieces for both your wardrobe and your skin, plus enjoying a high-quality perusing session.

Spun Sustainable Collective
1515 14th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
 

Happy shopping! Be sure to check out the locations page to see if there are any new places to find OHA near you!

 
 

Relaxing with OHA

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We talked last week about how to feel revived during this hectic season but sometimes, you just need to relax. OHA can help. For the last several blogs, we’ve highlighted the vitamins and botanical extracts in this skin care line, but a third component is aromatherapy. Now let’s get something straight about aromatherapy. Candle companies will have you believe that “aromatherapy” is feeling better from being in the midst of good smells. The true meaning of “aromatherapy” is “the therapeutic use of plant-derived essential oils”.  It’s not about breathing in synthetic vanilla fragrances, but about healing with pure aromatics. We want our customers to have a positive relationship with aromatic plants because what go hand in hand with those aromas are plants’ healing properties. We’ve come up with some helpful tips to get you feeling easy breezy in no time with some of OHA’s most aroma-therapeutic products for relaxation:

Lavender Field in France

Night Cream: OHA is the only skin care company using organic Kashmir lavender from the Himalayas. This is one of the finest lavenders in the world and it’s in this Night Cream to soothe frayed nerves. The natural healing powers of lavender are intensified by the association with what a lot of people consider the most healing and spiritual place on earth. Australian Sandalwood, also included in this blend, has been used for temple building because it’s believed to protect one from negative energies and surround one in divine presence. Beyond having a beautifully nourishing cream to apply at night, you can bask in the spiritual and healing aspects of these exotic and rare oils. Take time to breathe in the rich aroma and try it for daytime use, too, especially if you need extra calm in your day.

Rosewood Lavender Shea Body Butter: Rosewood is considered to be one of seven trees in the South American culture that can transform the planet. It is thought by the South Americans to be guarded by angel spirits and they use it as a rite of passage when their people die. This blend also includes English Lavender, which contains different compounds from Kashmir lavender due to the entirely different soil. Lavender grows all across the world from the Himalayas, to England, to the USA, to Australia. Martha’s OHA formulations feature lavenders from all over the world in order to provide the skin with every possible healing compound that lavender has to offer.

Intensive Nutrient Complex: Martha’s a firm believer in “it takes a village” when it comes to formulating with essential oils. That’s why she included 7 different lavenders, 3 vanilla balsams and a bouquet of soothing and healing florals in the essential oil blend for this best selling treatment serum. If you consider yourself a connoisseur of chocolate, coffee, tea or wine, you will appreciate our use of small but over-the-top skilled, artisan essential oil producers. These producers and Martha’s skill in blending assures you of true aromatherapy in every application of OHA.

Enough said. How should you use these products to relax? We suggest using any of these as a balm for temples, shoulders, feet and anywhere else a massage therapist would release tension. Be aware of the long history of lavender providing beauty rest that we all need so badly this time of year. As you apply these products to your face and body, take a moment to breathe deeply and enjoy the relaxation that follows.

Best to your holidays!

 

How Hydrating Mist Keeps Skin Balanced Between Seasons

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With the weather so haywire, it’s important to nurture skin throughout the changes.  As it starts to get colder, the body responds by using more protein, causing skin’s layers to develop more quickly. Having less time for skin to develop leads to imbalances, like chapped skin, hyper-pigmentation, uneven skin tone or flakiness.

Our 90% Organic Hydrating Mist can help the skin stay soothed and nourished during this transition. It contains soothing and softening aloe vera, antioxidant-rich green tea and hydrating hydrosols (see below to find out what these are).  Green tea is also an anti-inflammatory, helping soothe redness and rawness caused by chapped, weak layers of skin, while MSM helps strengthen collagen and keeps the skin even-toned and supple.

What’s so unique about our toner is it hydrates rather than “tightens”. When other brands’ toners claim that their toner “tightens”, you’re generally left with skin feeling uncomfortably tight and dry.  Not so with Hydrating Mist because it aims to soothe and hydrate. Hydrating Mist should be applied after cleansing to help prepare the skin for moisture and it helps disperse the products. OHA moisturizers and serums go much farther when accompanied by the Hydrating Mist, so you get better value for your money.

What’s a Hydrosol?

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.

Hydrosols, which you’ll find in our Hydrating Mist, are commonly called ‘floral waters’. Real hydrosols are the first product 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.

A Few Words from Martha Buldain, OHA Formulator: I want to emphasize that this is a beneficial and therapeutic product, not just filler in your skin care routine. It helps hydrate and refresh, while also helping all of our other products disperse evenly and sink in thoroughly. I especially like mixing the Hydrating Mist, Intensive Nutrient Complex, and Daily or Night Moisturizer in the palm of my hand. Three steps done at once saves time while still providing nutrients and hydration.  Lastly, it is truly refreshing and uplifting, with lavender and grapefruit, and it helps ease headaches.

 

 

The Difference Between “Clean Skin Care” and OHA

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When I first looked at the ingredient deck of OHA, there were some words that seemed kind of iffy. What is MSM? Is Tocotrienol some sort of medical emergency? Are these safe?

As you well know, OHA is teeming with beautiful essential oils, extracts and minerals, but what sets it apart is the concentration of those potent ingredients and the added bonus of skin-enriching nutrients. Now is as good a time as any to review why these nutrient-rich ingredients rock:


MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane): “MSM is an organic sulfur-containing compound that occurs naturally in a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and animals including humans. It …aids in sulfur metabolism, particularly in connective tissue.”  Martha formulated this into most of her products because it supports collagen connectivity while also encouraging skin detoxification. It also helps skin repair itself.

 

Ester-C & Ascorbyl Palmitate: Both are Vitamin C supplements, which support collagen and protect Vitamin E and our skin cells from oxidative damage (aka “aging”).

 

Tocopherol & Tocotrienol: These are Vitamin E supplements which are potent antioxidants.

 

Hydrolyzed Oat Protein: Smoothes fine lines and wrinkles while drawing moisture to the skin.

 

Glyceryl Stearate: Made from glycerin and stearic acid (an emulsifier derived from vegetable fats), this little wonder helps skin stay hydrated throughout the day.

 

These ingredients sound intimidating but they support our skin in beautiful ways and keep our complexions looking fabulous. When someone asks you what makes OHA so great, you can tell them it’s made of unbleached and vibrant plant oils with skin-boosting supplements. Easy peasy.

 

The CO2 Mask’s Triumphant Return

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I’ve mentioned before that I spent a sizable amount of my adolescence in Martha’s house.  She was always formulating concoctions for everyone in the household to test; “Smell this” frequented casual conversations.  About nine years ago, Martha concocted a handful of face masks. One was a chocolate mask with coffee and one was the CO2 mask. Being a coffee and chocolate freak, the obvious love affair should have started with the coffee chocolate mask. I didn’t know what CO2s were but that CO2 mask, more than anything else I’d ever tried, made my face feel clean without feeling dry, feel glowing without making me feel oily and even healed random zits. I loved it. I loved it so much, that I would awkwardly bring up the CO2 mask in conversations with Martha, hoping she’d offer me a lifetime supply. She’d mentioned that CO2s cost stupid amounts of money but that they were the purest iterations of plants.

Fast forward to Fall of 2010 when Martha, after some nagging, recreated her famous CO2 mask. It’s as fabulous as I remember it and I’m squirmily excited that so many people seem to love it as much as I do. Sheila Hansen, of If a Goddess Wore Makeup said,

“The new mask is awesome. I normally avoid using masks because most of them leave my skin feeling tight and dry, but NOT the new mask by OHA. My skin felt clean, soft and hydrated. LOVE it.”

It’s beautifully healing on tired, dry or panicked skin, which pretty much sums up how my skin feels this time of year. Martha got creative and added acai and pomegranate to give your skin a fantastic nutritional boost. Let us know what you think of this little miracle!

My Top 5 Ways to Unwind with Skin in Mind

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I have a confession: I’m a skin care nerd.  There, I said it. It’s because of this nerdiness that the following indulgences and activities chill me out:

1. Taking time at the end of the day to wash my face, refresh with some misting and give myself a mini face massage with my moisturizer and serum. It calms me down and resets my brain to bed time mode. This works so well for me that I think I could set the record for “Shortest Amount of Time Between Putting Head to the Pillow and Being in a Deep Sleep”. I mean it. I’m THAT quick.

2. Talking about ingredients. I especially love hearing stories behind ingredients. Take, for instance, the reishi mushroom extract in the Lip Line Treatment: Martha looked long and hard to find an artisan reishi mushroom supplier that met her stringent ingredient standards. When she finally found her mushroom guy (Paul Stamets of Olympia, WA), he took weeks (if not months) of coaxing until he finally agreed to be her mushroom guy. This Paul fellow is kind of a big deal, having written half a dozen books about mushrooms and discovering four new species of mushrooms. You can imagine how difficult it must have been for Martha’s fledgling skin care company to convince Paul’s people to supply the valuable and rare reishi mushroom extract used in Lip Line today. REALLY difficult. Stories like this intrigue me.

3. Indulging in a face mask when my boyfriend’s not home. He thinks it’s a creepy look on me but there’s nothing quite like relaxing with some Law and Order, drinking some tea and wearing a face mask. I’m relaxed just thinking about it.  Speaking of which, that reminds me of another relaxing, skin-related joy of mine…

4. Drinking water or tea. I know it’ll sound totally batty, but whenever I’m drinking water or tea, I think of how lovely and dewy my skin will feel once I’m hydrated. It’s not instantaneous. I know that. I just like to think of it that way.

5. Taking a bath. I get that a bath seems like a cliché relaxing option but it’s a cliché for a reason: it works. I just drop some essential oils in and let the hot water do its thing with my muscles and stress.  If I’m feeling saucy, I’ll light some candles and maybe have some wine. What a night, right?

Enough about me. What makes your days better? What are your indulgences or hobbies that turn you geeky?  I’d love to hear about them!

Until Next Time,

Meg

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