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email us at danacutolo@Ny-Ala.com

 

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Staten Island, New York

Natural Skin Care + Tropical Apparel & Accessories that contribute to reforestation and conservation of rainforests.

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Ny'Ala BLOG

Follow our blog for tips on healthy living, DIY recipes, and the journey of Ny'Ala.

Everything is Connected - Why Small Farms Change the World (Part 1)

Dana Cutolo

We talk a lot about how we want to #savetherainforest and planting trees... but the core of Ny’Ala started out with supporting small businesses - meaning we create products with materials bought from small farms or companies with a mission - and this alters how we effect the environment.

Every purchase we make has the power to shift the world in a positive direction. Sourcing locally, or from a sustainable small farm or initiative has incredible impact in our communities and environment. That was one of our huge motivators for creating Ny'Ala - prove that we can make good choices without compromising on quality or affordability (too much).

An example: Cheaply prices palm oil is the leading (nearly sole) cause of rainforest destruction in Indonesia. Massive corporations need access to a hard oil in massive quantities in order to keep processed food and cosmetics shelf stable and cheap. Palm oil is found in absolutely everything from food to cosmetics to cleaners, used for fuel, etc.

A need is just a need. If we diversified where we got this oil, and cut it with other oils, there would be less impact. That is the bottom line - we choose the impact. If each company chose to use more local, or well-sourced ingredients, the social and environmental impact would be HUGE.

Poverty is a vicious cycle, and in a lot of countries the government does not offer assistance, so your left to your own devices to lift yourself out of that cycle. Supporting small business directly fights deforestation, mitigates chronic use of forest materials (like cutting endemic trees for charcoal), and allows people to have a sustainable job that isn’t demeaning (like gold or jewel mining, etc). 

I saw this is Ranomafana, where I was so blessed to have met the most amazing medicinal plant farmers. Unfortunately, with new medicines and technology the industry had crashed and the farmers families had moved onto to different jobs, or remained jobless.

In 2015, I had been hired for a short term job in Ranomafana to learn and work for a reforestation initiative at Centre Valbio, but also to talk about the new potential for essential oils in the natural body care and perfume industry worldwide.

The local medicinal plant farmers were so excited about the thought of having their traditional businesses back - and spoke of how it would positively impact the community and rainforest by allowing them to leave unsustainable jobs and choose better resources. They came up with a business plan and secured funding for a shared distillation machine. 

Now, in 2017, their business is developing and securing jobs for more people every day... and of course the essential oils are out of this world amazing! Deep green Geranium oil and wildly camphorous Ravintsara (and more to come!). These people have incredible talent and produce some of the highest quality oil I’ve ever used (it’s in our Magic and Revive Collections!).

It's amazing how this world is connected in every way - but it's even more amazing to be a part of the shift that's occurring... 

What a time to be inspired :)

Cold Weather Care for Skin, Body & Soul

Clara Perez

Pinterest 2017

Pinterest 2017

 

As the cold weather settles in and the sweaters are broken out, our skin goes through a transition much like our closets.

During cold weather months, skin conditions like dryness, redness, wind burns, dry body, and itchiness become very common.

These issues can lead to uncomfortable conditions on your face and body and can leave you with irritating patches of redness and discoloration.

To get a jump on your winter routine and take preventative care now, lets learn about ingredients that can help remedy these common skin issues:

Calendula and hemp seed oil are well known natural anti-inflammatory agents. Using products with either of these ingredients will help reduce the swelling associated with itchy and wind burnt skin. Applying an oil to face and body daily helps to create a protective moisturizing layer over your skin that reduces the chances of increased dryness and persistent itch.

Baobab oil is full of antioxidants and is nutrient dense. This makes products containing this super-fruit oil perfect for treating redness, dryness and signs of aging which increases when skin is irritated.

Shea aids in your skins natural ability to produce collagen and helps to protect skins natural oils, making it a well-rounded product to use to combat dryness and irritation. Keeping skin soft and strong, products with shea and shea butter can be used on face and body daily to keep the cold weather at bay.

Ylang-ylang essential oil has benefits for skin all year around but during winter months, this aromatic ingredient helps to create a good balance between maintained moisture and oil. This balancing act can help fight dryness and improve your skins ability to resist damage from wind burn.

 

Pinterest 2017

Pinterest 2017

 

Finding and using cosmetic products that contain these all-natural and powerful ingredients can help fight all the signs of a punishing winter. That means your face and body will always be in summer mode which is good for anyone’s soul!

3 Self Care Tips for the Overwhelmed

Dana Cutolo

This week I had goals of writing an in depth blog about essential oils; how to source them, my top most useful essential oils, how to look out for sustainability and minimal rainforest impact and the reality of the fragrance industry. Life got ahead of me, and I wasn't able to find the time to write it. I went to bed last night stressed out and uncomfortable, only to wake up and realize, it's okay to table a project and be real. Head's up, because that's coming on Monday morning!

I had a beyond crazy week, prepping for a few wonderful events this week, filling orders, starting a new (and awesome!) job, and dealing with leaving my 7-month puppy alone twice a week for 5 hours... plus a few more things. All in all, typical life stresses got me feeling overwhelmed.

SO, here I am... 6:30 a.m. before work realizing that the only thing that really keeps me sane is a work-life balance, and some self love.

You have to carve out the time for your rituals every day, and know when to give yourself a damn break... Your creativity and drive will suffer without it.

 

3 self care tips for when

you're completely overwhelmed


 

1.  Mini Spa Night At Home

Sounds in-depth but it doesn't have to be. Whip out a face mask, or a heavy duty serum and apply to your face, and hop in the shower. If you can, close the doors and let the steam warm up the room. Take your time in the shower and just enjoy the peace. You can also diffuse your favorite essential oil blend or add a few drops to the shower.

When you're done, grab a moisturizer,  (oil, preferrably) and gently massage your face and neck and shoulders. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to boost the stress relief!(I search "self-massage" on youtube for tips!)

 

2. Make a cup of tea or hot cacao!

My favorite teas for a quick calm are:

Chamomile + Honey, a quick easy blend with no caffeine to calm your stomach and mind.

Lemon Balm + Ashwagandha + Mint Tea, a refreshing adaptogenic blend to calm frazzled nerves.

Cacao + Kava + Coconut Milk, a tasty winter remedy with serious anti-anxiety power - I have to say, just because kava is a natural plant does not mean it isnt dangerous - take this before bed if it's your first time trying Kava! 

***Try the kava first! if you hate the taste, then take the tincture and drink the cacao + coconut milk + water mixture separate!

Ingredients >>> One Cup Water + 1 heaping tablespoon cacao + a splash of coconut milk and 1-2 full droppers of Kava Kava Tincture (any health food store will stock this!). Blend in a blender
How to make >>>  Combine + heat the water, cacao and coconut milk, and blend with an immersion blender or normal blender. Add Kava tincture and mix. 

 

3. Get Outside!!!

Seriously, go take a walk, go to the beach or the park. Make sure to stay there at least 15 minutes. You can write, meditate, explore around, just try not to be absorbed into your phone! 

The benefits of nature are well-known, and powerful, so get out there!

 


Now, these are just the top three things that make me feel a little more on track when I'm completely burnt out. 

 

 

 

 

 

Design Inspiration from Nature

Dana Cutolo

Tangles vines, enormous palms, colorful Heliconia flowers, big baskets of bird nest ferns and cycads, and bamboo thickets... the rainforest is a wonderland all in itself. 

These days we've been seeing tropical plants and ecology as a main feature in design, of homes, clothes and atmosphere. I have to say: we're digging it.

Bringing nature into your personal surroundings is a sort of meditation, a way to relax our minds through nature. 

I love design and I am head over heels in love with fusing nature into minimalism...

 

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How to Stock Your Own Rainforest-Friendly Makeup Bag

Clara Perez

Helping the environment doesn’t have to cost you your favorite makeup items.
Making small and simple changes to your everyday products can mean more green in your pocket and in our rainforests!

There are a few necessities that all ladies need in their makeup bags to help get
through the day. Essentials, from your morning facial oil to your evening clay
cleanser, can all be tailored to give you the same (if not better!) radiant effects
you’re used to but with more benefits to your health, wallet and planet.

Ny’Ala Skincare products can be swapped for other commonly purchased
cosmetics and skincare items. However, with Ny’Ala’s 100% all-natural
ingredients and affordable prices, your skin and bank account will thank you. And
as if that’s not enough of a reason, Ny’Ala plants trees for every product purchased!

These Ny’Ala products are a great start to shopping more consciously and
stocking up your rainforest-friendly makeup bag. Check out the table below to see how these products stack up against traditional brands…

 

Basic Moisturizing Oil

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Lip Moisturizing + Repair

 

Clay Based Facial Cleanser

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Under Eye Serum for Puffiness

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Healing Lip Treatment

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Sea Salt Hair Treatment

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Lip + Cheek Multi-Use Stain

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Ingredient Spotlight: Calendula

Dana Cutolo

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Calendula is one of my favorite flowers for beauty and wellness. It is a powerful, yet super gentle herb that can be used topically and internally (yes, it's a gorgeous edible flower!). Calendula is a type of marigold and is part of the Asteraceae family. You can use this for a wide array of skin and stomach disorders, it is so gentle that many baby rash and skin formulations are Calendula based.

Properties of Calendula

Calendula in traditional medicine is warm and drying. This contributes to it's immense healing properties. It is antiviral and anti-inflammatory and is used topically for treating acne and rashes, and is known for reducing bleeding and soothing irritations. Calendula is the best herb/flower for repairing the skin because it naturally helps the skin to build more collagen for repair. Trust me, this stuff is magic when it comes to cuts and dry lips!

 

What Can I Use Calendula For?

  • Topical: Skin irritations, rashes, cuts and infections, as a cuticle oil - use topically through a salve, balm, cream or infused oil.

  • Topical: as a lip moisturizer, especially during a dry winter or cold sore season, as Calendula is known to fight bacterial and viruses - you can check out our Calendula Lip Oil Roll On here!

  • Internal: Stomach ulcers, and inflammatory stomach disorders by drinking a tea, or adding Calendula to a soup, bone broth, or stew.

 

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Edible Calendula

Another fun recipe is Calendula (and any edible flower) ice cubes! All you do is place the flower, dried or fresh, into an icetray with water or tea and let freeze! Super cute!

Thanks so much for reading! Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about one of my favorite ingredients.

 

I created a video to help explain some of the benefits of Calendula, watch below! I know it's pretty bad quality, but hey, I'm learning! Promise the second the video will be much better! 

The Benefits of the Rainforest

Clara Perez

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While many of us have heard about the plights to “save the rainforests”, few of us may know the true value and nobility of this cause. The rainforests are of great economic, social and moral importance to the planet. As humans we tend to not understand what we can’t see and if we don’t understand it, we certainly won’t invest time, effort or money into it. This issue can cause disconnect between us and the efforts to save our forests because our global rainforests are so much more than what meets the eye.

Biodiversity

Covering less than 2% of Earth’s surface, rainforests are home to 50% of the world’s plant and animal life, most being endemic. The biodiversity that can be seen within the layers of a rainforest from forest floor to over 200 feet into the sky, is unparalleled by any other environment on the planet. Boasting an astonishing 1,000 trees and over 300 species per hectare, the rainforest is Earth’s greatest game of I spy.

Water Cycle

Even with only covering 2% of the earth’s surface, rainforests store and recycle huge quantities of water. The Amazonian rainforest is expected to store over half of the Earth’s rainwater! SpongeBob, eat your heart out. Without the trees releasing this water back into the atmosphere, effectively feeding streams, rivers and irrigation systems, regional droughts would be far more abundant producing harmful conditions for humans and animals alike which can cause great devastation to native populations.

Indigenous People

Native populations are not limited to plants and wildlife but also to indigenous people whom also call these rainforest permanent homes. They have adapted their way of life to coexist harmoniously with the vegetation and organisms, depending on the forest for all their needs from shelter to medicine. These people possess great insight into how the rainforest operates and what benefits can be reaped without serious harm to the forest.

Medicine

Indigenous people have helped the world to discover that more than 25% of modern medicines have originated from rainforest plant species which only comprises of 1% of these extraordinary plants. The other 99% is still a mystery that has the potential to unlock cures and remedies to otherwise persistent diseases. Asia and African forests contain the rauvolfa shrub whose bark is used to cure high blood pressure and mental illnesses while Madagascar, the birth place of Ny’Ala skincare, is home to the rosy periwinkle- a plant used to cure leukemia. Another valuable plant from Madagascar is Ravintsara, a natural camphor that heals lungs and skin rashes. You can find that in Ny’Ala’s Revive Collection!

If we don’t begin to overvalue our rainforests-our natural hubs of mysticalesque landscape and wildlife, we can only look forward to global regret and repercussions.

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written by Clara Perez, from New York City, creator and blogger at The Green Scheme Blog

Why Clay Cleanser?

Dana Cutolo

Clay has been hailed a cure all in many cultures - we use various clays for detoxing, bathing, hair care and face masks - but there are also immense benefits as a cleanser too!

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These cleansers can work in a number of ways - to help remove makeup (careful not to get too much in your eyes, essential plant oils can burn sometimes!), can be used as a 'splash' facial mask or as a gentle cleanser.

Harsh soaps stripped my already dry skin, so this was my recipe for years. I started with the Glow Rhassoul Clay Cleanser and then worked to incorporate more options for various skin types.

Each cleanser is 4 oz. and lasts for 6-8 months. I use them as a mask by pumping a little into my hand, rubbing it onto my neck and decollate and leaving it for 15-25 minutes, then rinsing with lukewarm water. 

> GLOW Rhassoul clay is rich in magnesium, silica, potassium, and calcium, which all help to nourish your skin. The molecular structure of Rhassoul clay gives it a unique ability to absorb excess dirt and oil, as well as extract toxic matter from the skin.. making it an ideal post-beach GLOW Collection cleanser.
•    MAGIC Pink Kaolin Clay is best used on sensitive skin to gently exfoliate and deeply absorb excessive oils.
•    REVIVE French green clay is beneficial in removing impurities and tightening the pores, toning the skin, exfoliating dead skin cells and reducing inflammation in acne (MRH). 

Each cleanser will plant 27 trees in Ranomafana, Madagascar

2016: 6,345 TREES

Dana Cutolo

HAPPY NEW YEAR

 

 

HOW AMAZING IS THAT? .. Yes, you read that right, 6,345 can be planted with the amount donated in the first year of Ny'Ala Skin Care. This is an incredible way to ring in 2017! Thank you to everyone who supported Ny'Ala this year, every single one of you helped accomplish this, so pat yourself on the back ;) 

It has been an incredibly intense, and fun, first year in business. So many lessons were learned! I am so excited to expand our product offerings, get out in the community and be able to donate more in 2017!

Reforestation is something that is incredibly important - over 90% of the original forest has been cut down in Madagascar - BUT there are incredible initiatives, and amazing people dedicating their lives to protect, restore and monitor rainforests (globally, not only in Madagascar). The rainforests of the world are incredibly important for the planet, for human health, and for the species which inhabit them. They mitigate the spread of infectious disease, soak up immense amounts of CO2 (carbon dioxide), provide crucial medicines and foods, sustain diversity and much more. Here's a great quote:
 

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70 percent of these plants are found in the rainforest. Twenty-five percent of the active ingredients in today’s cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms found only in the rainforest.

Vincristine, extracted from the rainforest plant, periwinkle, is one of the world’s most powerful anticancer drugs. It has dramatically increased the survival rate for acute childhood leukemia since its discovery.

In 1983, there were no U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers involved in research programs to discover new drugs or cures from plants. Today, over 100 pharmaceutical companies and several branches of the US government, including giants like Merck and The National Cancer Institute, are engaged in plant research projects for possible drugs and cures for viruses, infections, cancer, and even AIDS.
— RainTree: www.paxnatura.org/RainforestPreservationBenefits.html
 

To say the absolute least, humans need rainforests - without them there will be no life. Ny'Ala Skin Care is dedicated to provided you with healthy, natural plant-based skin care, while providing capital for reforestation and conservation initiatives! Donations help - but funding via commerce can help even more in the long run. Every product you buy will plant anywhere from 5-72 trees (about ~9 trees per $1 donated). 

If you want to learn more about Centre ValBio and ICTE, the facilities we work with, check out our Reforestation page, or visit them online here.

Thank you all so much for a fabulous first year! If you have any questions, ideas or want to write a story about our mission, contact Dana Cutolo at danacutolo@Ny-Ala.com. 

Check out what our first year looked like:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Dana Cutolo

It is crazy how fast time flies. It was one year ago today that I launched my website and set off on this journey. Initially, I made skin care from my heart, purely because I loved it, and I deeply loved giving people quality products to help them relax and restore themselves. I saw herbal skin care as an art, a way to express the beauty of plants in different ways, combining them, heating them, infusing them - all to create something beautiful.

I then realized that with beauty, with commerce, you can have an effective way to bring money to causes that need it. Being another source of funding for the amazing reforestation efforts in Ranomafana, Madagascar gave me a way to be directly involved in a project so close to my heart. Seeing these rainforests, and the amount of danger they face, is a powerful wake up call, it's a jolt of harsh and undeniable reality: our planet is in very real danger. Knowing what could be found in these forests, valuable medicines, wildlife that has not been discovered yet, being burned away or cut down is a risk to humanity - not just those living around the forest. We aim to try to keep these projects funded and keep them running - they could potentially be saving us. 

Thank you all for supporting this project, I cannot wait to combine more plants, play with flowers and bring you lovely skin care products that will nourish you, and plant trees! Here are some photos of Ranomafana, Madagascar and beyond :)

Bee Pollen Smoothie!

Dana Cutolo

This weekend I met some lovely people who own a company called Beezy Beez Honey. I bought some bee pollen and absolutely couldn't wait to get home and try it!  

 

... You might be wondering why I'm eating bee pollen, or what it is to begin with..  Bee pollen is the pollen collected by bees mixed with a little bit of the bees natural secretions. Bee pollen is 100% natural byproduct from bees and is a SUPERFOOD (yay!)!

Here is some more cool information by Dr. Axe, draxe.com/bee-pollen/ 

 "Bee pollen is wonderful for natural allergy relief and is responsible for the many health benefits of raw honey. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, lipids and fatty acids, enzymes, carotenoids and bioflavonoids — making it an antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent that strengthens the capillaries, reduces inflammation, stimulates the immune system and lowers cholesterol levels naturally. " Dr. Axe 

BEE POLLEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE

1/2 tsp Bee Pollen Little bit of: Hemp Seeds, Collagen, Green Powder, and raw honey :) Handful of berries Little bit of Almond Milk Handful of oats And a touch of cinnamon

Yum!! Superfood bliss 💗 

Yum!! Superfood bliss 💗 

Enjoy! Tag us in Instagram @NyAlaSkinCare if you make this smoothie 😍💗😍 

Turmeric + Holy Basil Mocha Frap

Dana Cutolo

I've recently came to the realization of how therapeutic self-care can be. I get this amazing joy from making healthy recipes - and coming up with new ideas of how to use food as medicine. 

In this recipe I'm using the combination of Holy Basil, "Tulsi" and Turmeric. Holy Basil is a renowned herb known for it's ability to regulate and decrease stress, and heal the mind + body. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Overall - this is a great combination to start your day with. Typically, if I'm having a really stressful week, I'll try to add holy basil and honey (i have a sweet tooth!) to my recipes to help me chill out.

.... and this week I definitely needed it! I had 4 wisdom teeth removed + a torn cornea in the same week - so my stress level has truly been at an all time high!

BUT - back to the recipe!!! - let's end this little rant with one of my favorite quotes (and a fitting one, too..)

 

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

― Hippocrates 

TURMERIC + HOLY BASIL MOCHA FRAP


Cold Coffee or Mushroom Coffee

pinch of Cinnamon + dash of Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp Holy Basil

1 teaspoon Turmeric

Milk + a little cream (or coconut cream)

1 Frozen Banana

3-4 tbsp of Cacao powder

maple syrup or raw honey

and a few dates!

*you can add a bit of green powder or protein powder too*

& BLEND



Behind the Scenes: Travel + Experience in Africa

Dana Cutolo


TRAVEL + EXPERIENCE


Travel is what broadened my mind - in every way. I was very lucky because growing up my mother made it an absolute point to make me well-travelled. Those experiences made me into who I am today. When you step outside of your world - whats normal to you, what you are used to and see every day - you realize that the world is so much bigger, and yet also smaller at the same time. If there is one thing I value it's new experiences - in any way. I just want to meet different people, from different backgrounds with drastically different views of the world - I want to see new "norms" and grow from that experience.
 

My most wild travel experience has impacted me so much that I chose to start this company because of it! The thing about leaving home on a whim and moving to across the world is that you're thrown into a totally new routine. Suddenly, hiking kilometers, intense humidity, no electricity, bucket showers, and karaoke, cow skin with moonshine for a night was my new normal. And it was so.damn.exciting. 

New experiences also do wonders for the physical mind - expanding your thoughts and allowing you to come up with new ideas. Isn't 'crazy' defined as repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results? - That's a bit how I felt when I thought of conservation, environmental problems and poverty. These intertwined, insurmountable world problems that are devastatingly and notoriously difficult to conquer. It wasn't until months after my travels that I realized something: why not just change our norms? Like, for instance, our products, the simple act of buying a product could have reasonable drastic effects - you can buy something toxic, low-grade and made by child slaves - or you can opt to buy a product that donates profits to bettering the world, uses finer, less impactful ingredients and make a difference. Only by making a different choice. So, in a single second, you made an impact.

That's what happens when you travel - you expand, you think, you get more creative. I'll be posting tons of blogs about my personal travels, and hopefully getting some guest writers to dish on their travels as well!

If you want to contribute, contact us at danacutolo@Ny-Ala.com - <3

 

OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL QUOTES

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” — Peter Hoeg

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Travel teaches toleration.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Some behind the scenes photos of my journey

 

D&D in Africa on Ny’Ala Skincare: From the Rainforests of Madagascar

Dana Cutolo

In the summer of 2015, in the smoggy city of Antananarivo, Madagascar I met Danielle and Daniel - a badass couple traveling through Africa to learn more about themselves and their next steps in life.. Danielle recorded almost every step on her blog "D&D in Africa", including how she met me and learned about life in Madagascar! Here is the blog, and below is the text :) 

Ny'Ala Skin Care: From the Rainforests of Madagascar by D&D in Africa

written by Danielle Overhill

My first impression of Dana, the founder of Ny’Ala, came as we were driving in a caravan through small colorful towns across the impossibly beautiful landscape of Madagascar. More beautiful than most of what I’ve seen in my 24 years, despite having lost 90% of its original forest cover to the timber industry, agriculture, and other destructive uses. This drive to Ranomafana took 10+ hours on dangerously windy and broken roads. We made a few stops on our way, and at each one, there were always 5-10 people waiting to sell their goods to us.

 

 It’s a very emotionally complex moment-when you’re staring straight in the face of stark distinction between worlds-and you feel that you can’t really do anything truly meaningful to strike a balance except for buying a few trinkets. I was visibly shaken at one of these pit-stops, squished between some intensely convincing salesmen and a car full of empathetic travelers who had been in Madagascar long enough to know how to avoid losing their heads in these emotional cultural exchanges.

This was when Dana came in for the first time with her voice of reason as she stated that there are, in fact, genuine ways to make changes in the lives of the Malagasy people. The answer is in community development, she told me. I was moved as she explained that the real way to help the people of Madagascar is to aid in long-term projects with concrete objectives that help communities grow organically, sustainably, and on their own feet.

I learned quickly that this girl was walking the walk! She was in Madagascar to continue in the development of her business, Ny’Ala Skincare. Ny’Ala, meaning ‘of the forest’ in Malagasy, (the language of Madagascar) is an all-natural botanical skincare brand that uses fine oils and other products that have been sustainably harvested from plants in Madagascar, by the people of Madagascar. Her brand is inspired by the traditional healers of the island, by a deep affection for nature and the healing power of botanicals, and by a love for the Malagasy people.

Needless to say, I was a fan of this sustainable, all-natural, non-toxic, plant-based, high-quality, fair-trade, and community development driven company from the moment I set ears on it (try saying all that good stuff in one breath). Oh, don’t let me forget that 10% of its proceeds go to reforestation projects in Ranomafana.

And why Madagascar, you might ask. Well, Madagascar is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. It has more unique plant and animal life than almost anywhere on the planet, and is cherished by many people who recognize the true and intrinsic value of such a place. In layman’s terms; it’s too beautiful for words. But despite its biodiversity and unique cultural identity, Madagascar needs help.

All of the biodiversity of Madagascar, including the people, faces an enormous threat to its survival every day. There’s a laundry list of reasons why the island has been deforested so intensely, but many of them have to do with the lack of job availability for people who live outside major cities-which is 70% of the population. With so few job opportunities, people turn to the only capital they can reach, which is often the land-the forest and the species or minerals within it.

When something is harvested or mined in Madagascar, it often not done sustainably, it is likely done in earnest because people need to feed their families. This is part of the reason why the forest is almost gone, because the people of Madagascar are left without other options. This is also why community development is so important; the people need income, and the forests need protection. Ny’Ala provides a beautiful opportunity to meet both needs.

Aside from the brilliant philosophy behind this product line, the product itself is ridiculously high quality. Over the last two weeks I’ve been fortunate enough to sample the “Magic Everything Oil,” and the “Magic Body Exfoliant.” Both of which are made with geranium and calendula sourced from Madagascar (among a small handful of other redeeming ingredients). My experience has been amazing and I would give both products I tried a 10/10.

 

An icy winter in DC has left my skin needing some TLC, and “Magic” came right when I needed it most! I’ve been using the oil on my dry hands and body, as well as my curly hair-which can always use extra moisture at any time of year. After these past two weeks my hands have never felt so smooth. And because of the aromatherapeutic qualities of the geranium (which contains balancing properties) and the calendula (which is a known healing oil with endless applications for skin conditions), using the oil is often a meditative moment in my day.

I also used the oil in my hair, which is always flying away from me. Running my fingers through it with some “Everything Oil” keeps it shiny and moisturized but not too oily, plus it smells amazing! I’m a proponent of coconut oil, but it always seems to weight my hair down too much. The “Everything Oil” is more of an infusion and less of a dousing! The body exfoliant has also been good too! I savor the experience by using it only a couple times a week, but when I do, my skin comes out feeling like silk.

These products are made with high-quality ingredients, a lot of love, and they benefit so many amazing causes that using them is the most purely gratifying experience. If you want to treat yourself or a loved one, or if you just want to know you’re making a difference, check out Ny’Ala’s website to see all the amazing products that you can try and feel amazing about; because they are nourishing to you, and they are truly helping the people of Madagascar.

Do Something Good Today!

Xo-Dani

Ny’Ala Website: http://ny-ala.com

Ny’Ala Instagram: NYALASKINCARE

 


How to Reuse Ny'Ala Packaging

Dana Cutolo

We at Ny'Ala love to reuse everything - which is primarily the reason we chose reusable packaging - oh and for esthetics (because who doesn't love glass?!). 

Glass bottles + Muslin Bags are so incredibly easy to reuse because they can be used in so many ways. Here we listed some of our top favorite alternative ways our packaging can help you out :)

Travel Essentials Bag

Organizing for travel is one of my favorite things - but it can also be tedious. I prefer to just bring multi-use essentials only, which almost always fit into this (or two) little bag. 
Another tip - Jewelry - I almost always lose at least one piece while traveling - just toss everything in the muslin bag :)

 

Gift Bag

Need a bag for a tiny gift? Have a friend/family member that values conservation over new packaging? PERFECT. 

 

Tea / Drink Mix Carrier

This makes the best tea leaf carrier, you can also carry instant coffee/espresso with powdered creamer for a cup of delicious (&cheap) coffee on the go, you can put powdered gatorade or gym drink mix. Trust me, nothing will be better, especially if you commute/travel every day. 

 

Refill Dropper Bottles

 

You can take warm water + soap mix to scrub the labels off of our dropper bottles, and then use them for anything you like. DIY Perfume, Tinctures (travel with Kava Kava, trust me!), Make travel sized versions of essential products.... and more!

Bath Tea Bag or Poultice Bag

I use herbs a LOT, for nearly everything. My favorite uses are bath teas and poultices, but they are always messy. The muslin bag is amazing, you can put anything in it, avoiding a mess. Every get an amazing DIY bath soak recipe, but fear the clean up? Yeah? Well, fill the muslin bag and drop it in the bath, like a tea bag, let it swell with water and squeeze it a few times throughout the bath and voila, mess-free herbal bath! 

A poultice? What is that? - Well a poultice is similar, its a way to take herbs and apply directly to a would/affected area. You just put the herbs in, soak or dip in hot water and apply. Here are two DIY recipes for both of these uses..

 

Detoxifying Ginger Bath

4 parts Epsom Salt
1.5 part Ginger (powdered, 1 part if freshly ground)*
1 part Mustard Seed, powdered *
Lavender + Rosemary Essential Oil
(this combination is relaxing + stimulates blood flow - use any essential oils you prefer)

*typically available in grocery stores, definitely available in indian spice/grocery stores

- Fill up the Muslin Bag and place in bath, this will prevent the powdered herbs from clumping around the bath and prevent a difficult clean up -

 

Burn Poultice - 2 recipes -

Take dry lavender flowers (powdered or whole) and place in muslin bag, dip in water and apply

or

Take whole oats and fill muslin bag. Then dip in water and apply.

 

... So there you go, do you have another way to use our packaging? <3 happy reusing!

How stress can affect your skin...

Dana Cutolo

 

We all know stress affects our skin + our general wellbeing. Stress is a key factor in acne breakouts, facial cysts, dull skin, darkened undereyes, and more.

Our health literally depends on it... but if you are looking to really fix your skins appearance - this step is crucial.

In our society, life is fast paced and highly stressful. We tend to feel guilty about being self indulgent and taking time out for ourself -- but we shouldn't. I am calling for us to all practice intentional relaxation. We should all take a night out of our schedule to self indulge, for our health and for our minds.. whether it's meditation, exercise or a nice, relaxing home spa night.. let's just force ourselves to be a priority. 

 

The winter is cold, stressful and general exhausting on the body - so self care is sort of like a power boost.

A simple self-care night is one of my favorite ways to calm down and zen out. It can be a face mask + a hot shower, or a self massage – or anything, just take the time J

Read our blog on "The Ultimate At Home Spa Day" for some tips! .. We'll also be posting self care tips every week, so check back :)