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.

 

 

Not All Lavenders Are Created Equal

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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!

Who Is Meg?

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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

How Hydrosols Work for All Skin Types

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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

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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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