Education is the most important aspect of conservation - when these issues become common knowledge, we see real active change. Every single bit of education matters - and no matter how much you know, we can always learn more.
The fires that spread wildly in the Amazon rainforest this week have me absolutely shook up. I don’t exactly know how to help, or be of value in such an intense situation, and I’m sure many of us are feeling the same way.
Rainforests are the oldest ecosystem on earth, almost 60+ million years old! They are by far the richest ecosystems on earth, providing us with nearly ALL OF our resources - you would not live your life the same without healthy rainforests.
For the past couple of months I’ve been interested in sustainable beauty - and hair removal is a service often forgotten in this realm.
Traditional waxing vs. Sugaring
As I explain below, sugaring is more effective than traditional waxing, and that’s because of the main difference between them: the direction of hair removal.
Sugaring and traditional waxing are both hair removal essentially - hard wax uses a melted petrochemical paraffin based substance that is applied via a wooden stick, and sticks to hair and skin. Sugaring uses a natural paste made of sugar, lemon (citric acid) and water, which is applied to skin directly with a (gloved) hand and only sticks to the hair.
So, a heated and melted paraffin liquid vs. a candy looking sugar paste.
Traditional wax (hard wax) is made up of petrochemicals like paraffin wax, which does not easily or naturally break down in the environment.
So let’s think about this - you get a Brazilian wax and typically about 5-10 strips of hard wax is used and discarded, with a wooden application stick and gloves, you get this service every 4 weeks - that’s about 60-120 of each wax strips, nitrile gloves and wooden sticks per year, per client.
That’s a lot of waste on a large scale - and it is important we start to generally frame things in this way. It’s difficult to be sustainable and consider your impact in every part of your life - considering we have jobs, kids, pets, lives in general… so choosing simple things, like a better version of hair removal is the best way to minimize your impact without driving yourself crazy.
Sugaring is nearly zero waste - we toss only our 1 set of nitrile gloves, the bed linen and 2 cavi wipes per service - that’s nearly a quarter of the environmental impact of traditional waxing. Simple solutions…. and we’re making green living chic :)
Aside from the sustainability of sugaring, clients also prefer it because it’s great for sensitive skin.
Effectiveness + Skin Sensitivity
Clients choose sugaring over waxing for many reasons: sustainability, effectiveness, it’s less painful, and as a solution to wax reactions and sensitivity - overall it’s the best form of hair removal!
Traditional waxing methods tend to be less effective than sugaring. It is applied with the direction of growth, it sticks to skin and hair, then it’s removed against the direction of hair growth. This can lead to hair breakage, ingrown hairs, skin reactions and thicker grow back due to the root potentially not being removed. Generally, unless you have perfectly exfoliated skin and hair that isn’t prone to breakage, a lot will be left behind (albeit under the surface of the skin and not visible).
Sugaring is done differently because the natural paste doesn’t stick to skin, so we have to “mold” the paste into the hair to fully remove it. The paste is applied against the hair growth and then gently removed with the direction of growth, that’s what assure the entire hair with the root are removed. The direction of hair removal, the simple ingredient list, and the lack of heat are all factors that make sugaring more effective, and a great alternative for clients with sensitive skin.
For aftercare, it’s similar to any hair removal but keep in mind that if you have sensitive skin that you’ll want to assure products don’t have harsh ingredients or intense fragrance.
Below is a short guide, but essentially any time you remove hair and this have open follicles, you’ll want to avoid anything that can clog the pore (which leads to ingrowns!) or cause a reaction (like fragranced products and exfoliants) for 24 hrs.
For maintenance, we want to focus on getting the most effective hair removal. So you’ll want to keep your skin moisturized and we’ll exfoliated (since dry flakey skin can prevent hair from being removed or growing correctly).
I love using my nonclogging Tropical Body Serum daily after the shower, or if I have an ingrown I’ll mix earths fuller clay with the Botanical Soothing Gel and follow up the the cleaning and anti-inflammatory Cannabis Serum.
Where can I get sugared?
So many places are popping up now that sugaring is becoming more popular. In NYC, I work at Sugared + Bronzed - the top spot for sugaring (and natural customized airbrush tans!). There are also a ton of DIY recipes for sugar paste - but proceed with caution because it’s essentially like making candy and that can be a bit difficult.
It’s July 5th and we’re all sunburned and exhausted - in NYC it’s a perfect cloudy and chilly day recovery day.
There are so many ways to use aloe…
Aloe vera is one of my favorite soothing plants, when I’ve really damaged my skin (sunburn, beach day, camping or if I have a reaction), if I’ve had stomach issues (indigestion, acid or ulcer pain), and when I get a dry irritated scalp - essentially, Aloe is a savior.
A list of it’s uses:
Drink - Aloe is alkaline which helps to neutralize acidic foods in your stomach, and in your blood. It supports the stomach lining as well, helping to repair ulcers and prevent them from getting larger or more inflamed. Drinking aloe vera 1-2x per day for a week can help ease stomach ailments, or re-alkalize the body. Drink this when youre feeling sick, on a light detox or have ulcer pain. I like to add aloe gel to a chlorophyll slushie (ice + lemon + chlorophyll drop + aloe) or a green juice!
Skin - For topical use, it’s gentle, anti-inflammatory, supports collagen production and it’s moisturizing. I add aloe to masks for repairing / calming / soothing, or as a topical moisturizer for the face + body, and it’s especially useful for healing cuts (only cuts that have already formed a dense scab!) - add it to the Soothing Botanical Gel Mask Base with green tea / matcha powder or spirulina for a post-beach day mask.
Hair - My scalp gets super dry in the middle of summer and then again in the winter. I use an aloe based hair mask when there’s an extreme change in temperature, a sunburn or i’ve excessively used products that dry my scalp - or just to add extra moisture to my dry frizzy italian hair! Aloe soothes the scalp, repairs dead skin cells, and adds natural shine + moisture!
I make a mask with aloe gel + rosemary + 5 drops black seed serum
D.I.Y. Aloe Vera Gel
Use the giant Aloe stalks you find in the grocery store - or use your own, but avoid tiny leaves since there won’t be too much of the fleshy middle in them!
Carefully cut / peel the top green layer off - be careful not to cut too deep into the flesh, the peel is very thin.
You can use a spoon to scoop out the flesh - or cut the bottom peel too - this will reveal the clear, goopy and slimy aloe flesh. This is the good stuff!
Toss all the goop into a blender / food processor and blend until a gel forms.
*** This is NOT preserved, so it will go back in about 1 week, refrigerated. You can freeze aloe into ice cubes and melt when you want to use them - or make herbal recovery packs! Recipe on those gems coming soon…
Coconut butter from leftover or stale coconut flakes!
Have left over sweet potatoes? Blend it up and make a vegan cacao “chill out” brownie pudding!
Garlic Scape Pesto -
Have leftover wilted greens? Toss em in a blender and make a sauce or dip!
How to reuse Ny’Ala Skin Care glass packaging, remove labels, and be sustainable!
Raw Brownie Cake - Easy + Quick Sustainable Recipes
A list of organizations dedicated to sustainability, the environment and reforestation.
A complete list of my favorite sustainable brands, businesses and people!
Aside from the fact that I love everything black sesame (ice cream, mochi, bagels, soups, etc.) - I love this dark dreary smoothie for rainy days. And a while back, charcoal has a moment - and I’m just saying’, black sesame needs to replace it. Activated charcoal should never be consumed in the way it was promoted - it’s a medical grade ingredients that prevent absorption of toxins (or anything that you ate with it or previous to it), so needless to say… that was a dangerous trend.
We can get our fix for jet black smoothies another way - BLACK SESAME! Black sesame seeds are high in magnesium, protein, and calcium - this smoothie contains almost 10 grams of protein!
So, not only are they healthy, but they are bomb tasting, too.
BLACK SESAME + COCONUT SMOOTHIE
1 Frozen Banana
1/2 cup black sesame tahini - or black sesame cereal - or black sesame seeds
1-2 cups Coconut Milk
3 tbs Local Maple Syrup *you can sub this for honey, sugar, etc
*blend + add sesame and coconut on top + serve*
I’ve linked all of the ingredients below - my favorite way to make this is with Black Tahini because you can use the tahini as you would in any other recipe, it’s shelf stable, easy to use and it’s pretty :)
Click on the images below for a direct link to amazon!
“Ola ka ʻĀina, ola ke Kānaka.”
When the land lives,
the people live.
I have a deep love and respect for rainforests - they provide the world with life, and hold a type of magic. The choice to integrate Ny’Ala products with these incredible reforestation projects came from the realization that everything is connected. There is a lot of value in creative solutions to global issues - we all need to be somewhat involved in protecting our earth and each other.
In 2018 - by purchasing Ny’Ala products, you planted 5 Koa trees! THANK YOU!
Below I put a map with the actual Koa trees that were planted by Reforest Hawai’i, on Big Island.
WHY HAWAI’I ?
Hawai’i, like Madagascar, is both rich in endemic species and severely deforested. As ReForest Hawai’i explains:
“90% of Hawai`i’s endemic forests have been lost in the last 100 years to ranching, farming, development, erosion, and feral or wild animals. It is our chance to make an impact in our environment and be a role model for others around the world. Koa is a nitrogen fixing species which means that it provides nutrients for all the plants around and underneath it. Koa is a keystone species that creates habitat for all types of plant, insect, and bird species.“
“The Koa or Iliahi (sandalwood) tree was planted during the rainy season which typically begins in April and goes through August. We have been seeing the rainy season begin later over the last few years. In the Kealakelua area above Kona it is common for the uhiwai (heavy fog/mist) to visit the forest with a blessing pass through. The visit of uhiwai is extremely important for the Keiki Koa (seedling) survival. A Koa tree is designed to capture water with its sickel-shaped leaves (phyllodes) capturing the mist and slowly watering its understory. It provides the perfect amount of water and protection for itself and its neighboring plants. “
If you would like to donate or sponsor a tree directly or donate towards supplies (which would be kick ass of you!), click the buttons below.
A LIVE MAP OF OUR 2018-2019 KOA TREES!
It’s officially March - and in New York City that means it’s the last mass flu / cold / sickness - we’re all feeling a bit crappy. The weather goes up into the 60’s and plummets into a sub zero freeze, then snows and it starts all over.
This type of scenario calls for a vitamin rich adaptogenic + hydrating tea, and for me, it has to be something tart that I’ll actually drink throughout the day. I love this blend because it’s hydrating, full of vitamin C and it boosts the immune system while chillin you out.
I love the mix of Hibiscus, Ashwagandha and Rosehip because I can bear to drink it while I’m sick and it’s loaded with all the good stuff. Scroll down to the bottom for all of the benefits :)
HIBISCUS + ASHWAGANDHA + ROSE HIP TEA
COLD BLEND #1
Big Jar of Filtered Water - I recommend the Berkey Filter if you’re struggling to find a filter!
Muslin Bag or Tea Strainer
Ball Jar with Cap (if using a muslin bag - it helps keep it in place!
My famous Cannabis Serum has stirred up a couple questions – and even got me booted from a deal with a major big box retailer (… Hemp Seed Oil is NOT the same as THC or CBD extractions!). So I thought this was the perfect time to talk about all the wonderful pakalolo products 😊!
Cannabis is a beautiful healing plant with hundreds of valuable components, that’s why we have so many different options when it comes to using it. Between CBD, THC, oils, extracts, Hemp, and legalities….. oof, it’s easy to get confused.
Cannabis contains over 400 useful compounds, and 60+ cannabinoids; those are the compounds that act on our bodies natural “endocannabinoid” system and heal us.
The main two compounds we know are THC + CBD – they can be used individually or together to balance each other out. Since we developed a method of pulling THC + CBD apart, there has been a massive flood of cannabis products on the market. They are all different preparations of the same plant.
Why are there so many different Canna products?
We rely on plants for nearly everything – which it is important to value plants, nature and protect our rainforests (they are home to our most valuable compounds, both discovered and undiscovered).
Plants can be used in many ways – whole, as tinctures, extracts, poultices, infusions, decoctions, powdered, in tablets or capsules, burned in smudges, or inhalants and more. Each preparation method allows us to customize the potency of the herbal remedy, so an extraction or tincture is generally of higher potency and will contain more of the desired active compound.
We can make light extractions at home, or pharmaceutical companies can make a super potent extraction with fancy equipment – think caffeine pills vs. coffee, or willowbark vs. aspirin. A whole cold-pressed oil or a tea / infusion can be used as a quick remedy and an extract can be used as a supplement, medicine, or an active ingredient depending on the strength.
Therefore you’ll see Hemp CBD extracts promoted for supplemental or medicinal use, and Hemp Seed Cold-Pressed Oil for beauty, moisturizing, rebalancing or as a omega fatty-acid supplement. Both have incredible benefits, but each have a slightly different makeup and can be used differently.
Marijuana Infused Oil (THC) vs. Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD Oil
Products are typically marketing for nutritional or medicinal products and beauty products. We have several types of Cannabis and their primary uses and differences – mainly we know of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that causes the high, and Cannabidiol (CBD).
Indica-dominant strains tend to have a higher cannabidiol content than the sativa plants in which THC content is higher – and then there is the raw cold pressed oil made from the neutral fatty seeds.
Marijuana Infused Oil
Cannabis infused oil is typically referring to edibles – which can be made with CBD oil or THC oil – but typically we think of an infused oil as a THC containing oil infused by heating the marijuana flowers in fat. This is not a true “extract”, it’s more of a variation on how to consume / metabolize the marijuana.
There are companies that used infused oil, like Foria, for medicinal benefits – but unless youre a medical patient or live in a recreation-legal state, you’re highly unlikely to be able to purchase an infusion containing THC. So, any “hemp oil” or “hemp oil extract” product should not be confused with this.
Pure Cold Pressed Hemp Seed Oil
Like other cold pressed oils (Olive, Grape Seed, Corn, Avocado, Sesame, Peanut) we take the seeds/nuts and press them to express the oil. The seeds of hemp contain nearly no THC, and a small amount of CBD – the value of hemp seeds is in the protein, fatty acids and fiber… but only the seeds are used and they aren’t as potent as the rest of the plant.
Hemp Seed Oil is incredible for dietary and beauty purposes, which is why I created the Cannabis Serum. Hemp Seed Oil is non-comedogenic, meaning is won’t “clog pores” by hardening in your follicles and it’s easily absorbed by the skin.
It helps heal and support inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis by being anti-inflammatory and light. Read more about the skin benefits of Hemp here.
Hemp Extracted CBD Oil
CBD is extracted using the whole hemp plant – it provides relief without the psychoactive effects, or the “high” caused by THC.
This is incredible for medicine, because without the high, there are more uses – for anxiety, pain management, inflammation and more. We only had the ability to separate CBD from the rest of the Canna plant since 2012 (thanks Isreal, you a real one)… so that really opened the flood gates for CBD based products.
In order to separate CBD from the THC and other parts of the plant, we have to extract it - the result is a medicinal strength concentrate of the CBD compound. So, what is the extraction process like?
Well, much like other herbal extractions, we first pick the most potent strains, those plants with the most CBD content. Then there a couple different common methods –oil extraction, isolate extraction, alcohol extraction, ethanol, CO2…. I know, that sounds like a lot, but they are just methods of pulling the compound into a solution and burning off the solution to get the medicine!
My CBD recommendations – I’ll write another piece on this, with product links, too!
The best kind of CBD product to get: full spectrum, USA grown. I would recommend that the product have a good complimentary ingredient like MCT oil (a potent extraction from coconut oil) because it regulates lipid metabolism, or a small ratio of THC if you are able to use that.
Avoid products that are “hemp seed oil” – CBD products should at least have “Hemp Seed Extract”.
Dosage will depend on your needs and tolerance, but it’s best to take small doses throughout the day (2-3 times, or as needed) rather than one single large dose.
I would love to hear what you all think! If there are any questions, comments or recommendations comment below 😊!
Some more reading material -
Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736954/
List of Major Cannabinoids in Cannabis and Their Effects. https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/list-major-cannabinoids-cannabis-effects
From Clone To Concentrate: CBD processing. https://www.projectcbd.org/industry/clone-concentrate-how-cbd-oil-made
SPIRULINA - my absolute favorite ingredient. I have always loved adding a chlorophyll rich supplement to my diet, whether it’s lots of leafy greens, algae, or pure chlorophyll drops.
I havent had spirulina in a minute, so I added it to my last Thrive order since it’s nutrient packed and great for hormonal breakouts (more on that in another post).
I opted for the powder, which was a total accident, a good accident however because you get more nutrition out of the powder than the tablets anyways.
I have a bit of a fear of green powders because some of them were pretty damn awful years back - spirulina however, is so mild flavored, and it’s pretty much flavorless once it’s paired with anything else.
Thank god for Minimalists Baker -life her Sprulina Smoothie Recipe - it is BOMB! I edited it a bit and added a tropical twist with Pineapple + Mango.
Tropical Spirulina Smoothie
1 teaspoon Hawaiian Spirulina
1 frozen banana (chopped up for ease)
1 c coconut milk (then I thinned it a bit with water)
half handful of each: frozen pineapples, frozen mango and frozen spinach
*optional* a couple drops magnesium, some pee pollen and black sesame seeds
Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite “holidays” - the energy of this day makes me want to treat myself to a beautiful bath, candles and self-care.
Some of my favorite bath ingredients for this time are: coconut milk, rosewater, roses, carnations, hibiscus, pink or red sea salt, rose glycerite and blood orange juice. Once in a while, your soul needs you to do something really beautiful for yourself - whether that’s a soaking bath, a fresh meal, anything you feel really good about.
Here’s my Valentine’s Day Bath :) Make sure to check out some of the Valentine’s packages I put together.
Every gift will be packaged in these reusable cotton bags that I dyed this week using Moroccan Madder Root - my best friend sent me the best dying powders on her travels - check out her travel blog on Morocco - it’s gorgeous!
Blood Oranges – their beautiful deep red color makes it one of my favorite citrus fruits. The blood orange Pelligrino was my favorite drink (that can has 32 g of sugar, damn!). My stepfather Dominic grew up growing and eating blood oranges in the hills of his hometown in Sicily, so he buys them every year. Food is funny in the way that it connects history, health, emotion and visual beauty together.
Aside from the blood orange being beautiful, it also has incredible health benefits too, so it’s worth switching blood oranges for your tangerines on occasion. They contain:
- Anthocyanins – Blood oranges have that deep red bloody color because of their highe concentration of this flavonoid, higher than all other orange types (kinda sounds like something Trump would say). This anti-oxidant helps inhibit cancer cell growth, induces programmed cell death (our bodies way of removing precancerous cells rather than supporting them), and helps protect cells from mutating.
- Vitamin a – Blood oranges of course have a provitamin a, beta carotene that supports the reproductive and immune systems, cell function, and vision.
- Vitamin c - which stimulates the production of collagen, supports the immune system, increases iron absorption, and it’s necessary for cartilage and muscles. One blood orange has 66 mg, almost 100% daily value of Vitamin C.
Clearly, these fruits are amazing. You can eat them straight, add to a salad, or smoothie, blend with coconut milk and make popsicles.. or juice them.
One of my favorite ways to consume blood orange is squeezing it into sparkling water, the better version of San Pellegrino arancia rossa 😊.
Diversity of color in your diet is so important, not only for the body, but the mind too. Don’t we all feel better when we consume something thoughtful and beautiful? You deserve pretty food!
The day after Christmas always felt very relaxing, we’re all winding down from the holiday buzz, most of us have the day off and it’s chilly out- so it’s a restorative day.
Since the summer I’ve been dealing with a pretty painful neck injury - so a pine soak for muscle recovery. Pine is also used for stress relief, skin irritation and as a boost of Vitamin A.
For this soaking bath I aimed to soothe my muscles, stress relief, to clear sinuses and celebrating winter.
I gathered pine and rinsed them in the sink, drew a bath. I added Epsom Salt, colloidal oats and the Pine bundles in... while diffusing eucalyptus oil.
Perfect ending to the holiday 🌿