Color, Color

These days, glass and plastic bottles come in lots of different colors. Here at OHA, our glass and plastic bottles are brown. Most people think we just picked the color because of aesthetics. But the truth is, there is a reason why we choose to store our products in dark colored bottles.

OHA skincare products are made using plant based organic ingredients. Since we don’t use synthetic preservatives, our products are sensitive to light and heat. Our brown colored bottles shield light away and help protect the ingredients in our products. Therefore, the whole ingredients in your OHA product remains balanced and full of the healing, restorative and regenerative elements. Be sure to always keep your OHA purchase out of direct sunlight and away from heat.

The CO2 Mask’s Triumphant Return

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!

How OHA Fixed my Acne Fiasco

Growing up, I watched one of my older brothers struggle with serious skin issues, like acne to the point of having to take medications like Acutane. You may have heard of it.  It’s so toxic that doctors won’t prescribe it until you’ve gotten two negative pregnancy tests and won’t keep prescribing it unless you take a pregnancy test every month.  Yikes. For my poor brother, no amount of lip balm or lotions could keep his lips and skin from being itchy and flaky while he was taking Acutane. After seeing him like that, I went through puberty, middle school, and high school, dreading the inevitability of one day waking up with a painful case of full-blown acne. Lucky for me, I just had little outbreaks here and there but no ongoing issues….until I graduated from college.

The area under the right side of my chin became a hotbed of acne disasterousness. At first, there were a couple of spots and then those spots seemed to breed and take up residency. Soon enough, I couldn’t deny that these breakouts were constant, painful and not going away any time soon. I just kept thinking, “I’m in my twenties! Acne is for teenagers!”. After I visited my doctor, I had to face facts: I had acne and two acne prescriptions to prove it.  My doctor told me that I’d be prone to acne through my mid-thirties and that I’d have to keep medicating until then. Cue my sense of heavy dread.  Though the medication cleared up my acne, I didn’t feel great about it.  I was putting toxic creams and pastes on my face, despite my general belief that there’s usually a more natural, organic option that will do the job just as well as a synthetic. I didn’t know what else to use, though, so I ignored my discomfort.

My Face 1 Month on OHA and Off Acne Meds

About a year later, Martha asked me to join the OHA team and got me hooked up with the OHA skin care system. After about a week, I loved how my skin felt and I decided to take a leap of faith. I thought, “I really believe in these products and their healing properties. I also don’t want this acne medication adding toxicity to my life and body.  Now’s my chance to make the switch and see what happens.”  So I did it.  Initially, I developed a bit of a rash. Panicked, I called Martha, worried that I’d made a bad choice and that I would have to be on acne creams until I was in my thirties.  She explained that my skin, with the help of OHA, was pushing all the toxins from the acne medications to the surface and would clear it out in the next week.  Less anxious, I stuck with it and the rash cleared within a week.  Now, 6 months later, my freaky acne hasn’t resurfaced and I am endlessly grateful to OHA for giving me an organic, natural alternative to those acne creams. On the other side of the coin, living in Chicago, the winter generally ravages my skin, turning it red and dry within minutes of being outside, but OHA’s balanced me out to the point that my skin knows how to take care of itself.  The acne’s gone but so is the potential for dryness on my cheeks and oiliness on my t-zone.  Ahhhh, balance.

So, that’s what OHA’s done for me. I feel lucky to have had such a fantastic line of products fall into my lap the way OHA has. Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear how OHA’s worked for you. Email. Leave a comment. Don’t be a stranger.

Until Next Time,

Meg

The Secrets of Smells: Fragrance vs Essential Oils

In my blog about lavender, I mentioned a variety of lavender that didn’t actually come from a plant, but from a blend of synthetic fragrance oils. While it seems strange to call something “lavender” that’s made with anything but, this is super common in the world of smelliness. I want to share with you how essential oils and fragrance oils are entirely different beasts and what those differences mean for your skin.

Fragrance Oils:

The sole purpose of fragrance oils is to be smelly.  They’re created in labs to mimic aromas, like vanilla, lavender, jasmine…etc, using as many as hundreds of ingredients, mostly synthetic.  Having worked in skin care for over three years, I’ve found that way more people falsely think they are allergic to essential oils than actually are, due to an allergy to one of the hundreds of ingredients in a fragrance oil.  On another unfortunate note, certain widely available synthetic fragrances have skewed our noses to link completely unnatural smells to naturally occurring plants, like cucumbers, sweet peas and grapes.  Their synthetic imitators have changed consumer expectations to the point that the real smell of those products smells wrong.  Martha calls this “nose washing”.  Get it?  Like “brain washing” but for the nose?  Okay.  You get it.  Moving on.

When it comes to candles, incense, and any other products not for the skin, fragrance oils may work just fine. For skin/hair/body products, watch out for ingredient lists citing “fragrance oils”, “essential fragrance oils” or “nature identical”, unless you’ve found that you’re allergic to the real thing.

Essential Oils:

Essential oils come from nutritious and beneficial plants, like flowers, barks, stems, leaves, roots and seeds. Even though they’re called oils, they don’t feel oily in the way olive oil or almond oil would. They actually evaporate when they come into contact with air. They have the ability to soothe, heal, rejuvenate, lift, and brighten, just to name a few super powers. What’s especially lovely about essential oils is that they do so much for our skin but also have a naturally occurring fragrance. A gifted formulator will use essential oils for their therapeutic properties while also artfully balancing the final aroma.

Speaking of gifted formulators, Martha has a lot of stories from working and playing with essential oils for most of her life. One of my favorite stories is where she was teaching an aromatherapy course and most of her students, upon first sniff of pure essential oils, were appalled. After about a week of smelling, however, her students made a complete turn-around and became essential oil snobs. They could even sniff out synthetics like they’d been smelling the real essential oils their whole lives. I have a theory that our noses are better equipped to recognize aromas from real life and these students just needed to be reminded of how pure oils smell.

When applying essential oils, it’s important to dilute them with a carrier oil like olive, jojoba, or almond oil. Unrefined essential oils straight to the skin are a bit too active and potent. Think of it this way: just one drop of rose oil takes 67 rose blossoms. That’s a lot of love in one drop and it can get a little intense if applied directly. The massive amounts of the original plant needed for an essential oil is the main reason that essential oils are more expensive than their fragrance oil counterparts. If you’re ever tempted to buy an essential oil from the grocery store and the price seems too good to be true (like $10 for a small bottle of rose oil), it probably is. You’d better move on, no matter how badly your wallet wants that rose oil to work as well as the pricier ones.

In sum, there’s really no contest when it comes to deciding what kind of oils your skin would generally prefer. I hope this helped demystify the different benefits of these two very different oils. I’d love to hear about your experiences with fragrance oils and essential oils so feel more than welcome to leave a comment!

Until Next Time,

Meg

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!

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.

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!

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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