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 🌿
Well – I spent a solid two hours writing this blog, then the entire thing disappeared (thanks Squarespace). So, here is a less informative version!
Moving back to New York has completely shocked my skin – and I’m fully understanding the term “ Alligator Skin” at the moment. Between setting up the studio, batching products and moving – I have been really lazy with self care, especially exfoliating. So – it’s the perfect opportunity to write a short list of easy dry skin remedies.
I could say this one a thousand times - it’s hard to stay hydrated but it’s so crucial to skin health. Hydration helps skin stay plump, perform/function better and keep exfoliated.
Drink herbal teas, water, broth - anything, make sure youre drinking a little more than your recommended amount!
LOOFAHS + DRY BRUSHING
Keep a dry brush hanging in the shower, before you turn the water on, get in and gently brush your body in long upward strokes (ALWAYS TOWARDS THE HEART!). Dry brushing a couple times a week is good for increasing circulation, brushing off excess dry skin, and preventing varicose veins.
Loofahs are a great way to get a similar benefit to dry brushing – switch to using a loofah instead of a shower poof or your hands .
Body serums should be light weight so it absorbs easily into the skin post-shower. I love the Tropical Healing Serum because it’s light, scent free and sprayable to its easy to use. It contains Tamanu, Kuikui and Coconut Oil to deeply nourish + heal.
Plus, every bottle purchased donates $10 to ReForest Hawai’I + lasts for a long time!
HERBAL MILK BATHS
Natural ingredients added to a bath is one of my favorite things – herbs can be used for a variety of health and cosmetic issues. My favorite herbs for dry skin are: lavender, calendula, oats, chamomile. I also love adding ½ cup of ginger to Epsom salt to take a heat inducing bath – this helps your body to sweat out a cold/flu (take precaution if youre pregnant or have sensitivities).
*tip = place plant material in a muslin / cotton bag to prevent a mess, and use as a bath tea*
Milk is super moisturizing and beneficial for your skin, Cleopatra took milk baths as part of her beauty routine – so, that’s a pretty sign it works 😊
Coconut milk is nourishing and moisturizing.
Whole milk is exfoliating with natural Lactic Acid, an AHA that helps keep skin soft.
Oat milk is calming, soothing and can help if your skin is irritated or itchy (a cleaner way to use oats in a bath)
SCRUBS + MASKING
I love mixing a batch of scrub and leaving it in the shower to use (precaution, if water gets into the scrub discard after 1-2 weeks because oil + water = mold, yeast and yuck).
You can use what you have in your home, like olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, sugar, coffee grinds (used or fresh), brown rice flour, etc.
EXFOLIATING LOTIONS / WASHES
You can also use an AHA / BHA lotion or body wash daily – Be careful if you have sensitive skin and always do a patch test!
Summer is coming to an end, and with the change of seasons it's nice to revamp your skin and mind in honor of autumn. Summer is pretty harsh on the body - sun damage, salt, wind, chlorine (... some of us -_- ), and more all take a toll on our skin, leaving it dry and possibly a little dull as our tans fade.
I like to set an intention for Autumn, something that I want to focus on - for me this season my intention is to avoid burnout and focus on self care. So, this was the perfect thing for me to do!
For the end of summer skin repair we will focus on: exfoliation, massage, hydration + moisturizing! It's a time to prep the skin for fall + winter needs: exfoliation and moisture (since winter is dry and cold). I love this routine for any time I am feeling utterly overwhelmed but I don't have time for a long self care night.
Steps: Clean face, Exfoliate Face, Apply Mask (+ hair mask if you want!), step into shower, exfoliate body, remove mask and clean body, remove leave in hair mask + rinse off!
Give your face a quick wash, and gently exfoliate your face, apply a mask and then hop in the shower to give your body a scrub (save water by doing a dry exfoliation and then rinsing!)
For exfoliating your body you can use a wide variety of materials from plants to salts and more - but for your face it's a little different - you want to gentle exfoliant or an enzyme based method. You can also make a different scrub for the face + body!
Body: Combine any of the following
Salt, Sugar, Coffee, Brown Rice Flour, honey, oil (olive, grapeseed, hemp, sesame, coconut), butter (shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter), Dried Herbs (finely ground)
Face: Combine any of the following
Brown Sugar (fine grain), Brown Rice Flour, Coconut Milk Powder (any milk powder), honey, light oil (hemp, sunflower, grapeseed), dried herbs fine ground (assure they are safe for your skin! - i love using ground centella ), or fruits!
After I rinse off my exfoliant, I like to stretch a little under hot water and give my body a gentle massage.
Massage is one of the best ways to improve circulation, stimulate muscles and tissues and drain lymph - which is all necessary for your body to naturally detox, stay healthy and stay hydrated!
There are a ton of massage tutorials online - everything from light lymph drainage, to soothing face and body massages - choose one thats best for you! *Tip - if you are doing a hard constricting pressure anywhere, always move upwards toward the heart!
Make a giant glass of water with herbs, cucumber, or fruit and make sure to drink it! Our skin requires that we are fully hydrated - that will help your skin function at its peak!
I did a short blog on the importance of hydration and how our skin requires a balance of moisture + hydration - read it here! I also added a couple recipes for my favorite flavored water + their benefits!
Right out of the shower, while your still damp - a body serum is the ultimate gift to your skin! After exfoliating our skin is essentially primed to take in all the nutrients a dense serum has to offer.
There are a ton of serums - or try our Tropical Body Serum made to repair the harshest environmental damage, it has Kukui Nut, Tamanu and Coffee infused Coconut Oil! (and it donates $10 to Reforest Hawai'i!)
I also did a short blog on the importance + reasons you should consider a body serum. It's not required often or every day - but it's like a going to get a facial or a teeth cleaning - a great intensive maintenance treatment.
Apply the serum to your whole body by spraying it on and rubbing it in - then apply your normal moisturizer to lock it in!
Once I do this, I like to put on some music, sit on a towel on the bathroom floor, sip my water and stretch or meditate to a podcast or some music.
Hurricane Lane is close to hitting - so we all have a couple days off at home. It's a bit stressful when everyone is freaking out, buying an entire Costco worth of water and bread... We just bunkered down at home with candles, movies and tons of snacks.
To calm myself I decided to get creative and make some rose petal and rosemary smudge sticks.
I love getting flowers, but I really love reusing flowers and making them into pretty bundles, bath salts or tinctures. A "smudge" is typically a tied bundle of plant material that you would hang to dry and then burn for ceremonial or sacred purposes. There are a ton of different blends for smudges, but I'm a fan of using what you have on hand - for smudges, pick any herb that’s safe to burn or smoke.
What does a smudge do? Like other ceremonial practices, this isn't a hard fact based cure or fix - this is a physical and visually beautiful way to draw attention to something you are trying to accomplish.
As with anything in life, what you put attention on is what you will receive - that is nearly a fact, because it's your perception. Physically working with plants brings energy, and if you can plan what your intention is - you can help redirect energy to that place.
I chose Rose + Rosemary to open myself up for healing, strength, energy and to start a new path. After struggling a couple of weeks with a bit of depression, leading to lack of exercise and a bad diet - I'm ready to revitalize my self-love and respect. It's something I used to put myself down for - having an unhealthy couple of weeks, instead understand that you needed that time, and now my intention is to focus on self-love more.
Here's a pretty basic list of my favorites for smudging (and if you know any native Hawaiian plants that can be used please comment them below!!!):
Mugwort: this plant used to grow invasively everywhere around where I grew up in Staten Island New York (I know, it's a strange association, Staten island and wild growing medicinal plants). It brings on lucid dreams that can be used as a way to direct thoughts or meditations, or to bring an intention to fruition - it also helps to push you to listen to your intuition - a great smudge or smoke blend for full moon ceremony or intention setting.
*** warning - if you choose to keep the mugwort close to where you sleep to induce lucid informative dreams, they can sometimes be very vivid dreams so just be aware :) ***
Mint: smells soooooo good and it's energizing.
Lavender: for calming, setting a calm mood, reducing anxiety.
Sage: for clearly the energy in a space and more.
Rosemary: smoothes the mind and prepares a space for creativity by helping to remove bad energy.
Lemongrass: purifying and cleansing - also helps to keep mosquitos and flies out of a space for a little while.
Rose: healing, grief, acceptance, for heart strength.
I love infusions, tinctures and decoctions - essentially concentrating the medicinal benefits of a plant. Tinctures are a great way to preserve a plant for medicinal use, or for skin care, food and flavoring.
The glycerin tincture is a great alternative to the grain alcohol based solutions - especially for skin care since alcohol is irritating. You can make this recipe two ways, cold and hot.
Cold Infusion - Soaking herbs in solution for 1-2 weeks.
Hot Infusion - In heat safe jar place in double boiler slowcooker for 4 hours (or on a stovetop, on medium heat).
All of the ingredients should be super easy to find from your local grocery store, I got everything at Down to Earth in Honolulu.
Ingredients / Materials
Herb of your choice (Calendula, Lavender, Rose Buds, Licorice Root, Turmeric)
Lots of hand towels + sink access!
1. Gather the ingredients + materials
2. Add the herbs to the jar
3. Mix the glycerin + distilled water in a 3:1 ratio (3 glycerin : 1 distilled water) + add to jar, make sure to fully submerge the herbs.
4. Cap + Shake the herbs - make sure to agitate and shake them up daily if you choose to do the cold infusion method.
5. Label it! Write down the name of the herb, date, ratio of ingredients (3:1 glycerin to water with herb name).
How to Strain Your Tincture
1. Use a clean ball jar, a funnel and cheesecloth!
2. Place the cheesecloth in the funnel for straining - pour the infusion (depending on the herb it may be thicker after infusion) onto the cheesecloth - it will now slowly strain through to the jar.
3. if it gets stuck or wont drain, fold the sides and lift the saturated cheesecloth just a bit to work the infusion through.
4. The herbs are now ready to be composted or thrown away - or you can turn them into a body scrub if they are granular!
5. Pour the herbal glycerite into a dry glass container or dropper bottle and use this internally in food / drink recipes or as a face mask / cleanser booster!
I love pairing these glycerites with my cleansers or to add to a clay or botanical mask (a couple of drops!). Generally glycerin is a mild ingredient, it's a cleansing + toning emollient, so it draws moisture to the skin and helps remove excess dirt + oil - essentially it's gently cleansing without being a detergent. Due to its cleansing properties, it could be drying when it's overused - so if you are cleansing with glycerin make sure to tone and moisturize.
Bath Tea is one of my absolute favorite way to use herbs. I do like a messy beautiful pinterest style bath - but if you dont want the heavy cleanup of flowers and herbs in your bath, then just simple wrap your herbs in cotton, or get a small muslin bag (if you get a Ny'Ala product, I mostly package with muslin, or you can leave me a little note!).
Poultices are great to use directly on affected skin, or to toss in the bath or even as aromatherapy. I currently have a Lavender Poultice up in the store - I use this as aromatherapy, also I run under lukewarm water and apply to a burn, or cold water and to my face to close my pores - and as a quick relaxing bath tea (just toss one in!). Use code "NaturalBeauty" for 10% off of the poultice!
Here are some of my favorite bath tea recipes - for each of these you can use tea bags, bulk herbs from the spice section of your healthfood or wholefoods store, or buy them on amazon "frontier" brand is great!
Summer Cool Down
Diffuse Lemon Grass or Eucalyptus during your bath!
Skin Softening + Calming
(powdered is best, but you can toss a little coconut milk directly into the water)
Lavender Buds (into the bag!)
Lavender or Rose Essential Oil
Energizing, Stimulating, Focus
*Great for an exam, or if you come home from work and need to start on a project or refocus - you can use these scents in a shower too by hanging rosemary or diffusing essential oils, or by putting a couple drops on a dry sponge in the shower!
Rosemary Leaves (dried or fresh)
Eucalypus Essential Oil (or leaves)
Bentonite Clay (2 tsp)
Lavender Buds (or EO)
and Green Tea (in a tea bag is okay!)
Bentonite or Aztec Clay
1 pinch of Activated Charcoal
Ginger (raw 1/4 cup, dried 2-3 tsp)
a litttttle (1-2 tsp) Apple Cider Vinegar
Oats *if its the first day of the burn at its worst*
Epsom Salt *if it's day 2+ of the burn!*
**Aloe Vera, apply before the bath if its a gel!)
" Last week on 'Design Spotlight', I gabbed about a woman who turns recycled fabrics into decorative plant vessels. Continuing the theme of being environmentally conscientious, I've had the pleasure of befriending another beautiful soul who is all about rain forest conservation through the art of herbal body care.
This gorgeous babe above is Dana Cutolo and she is a master of alchemy - literally! She graduated from the Arbor Vitae School of Traditional Medicine in NYC with a passion for medicinal herbs and a knack for applying the properties into skin care and beauty treatments. Her interest in ethnobotany flourished during her study abroad through a different college she attended, Stony Brook University. She was sent to Madagascar and stayed at the research and conservation center, Centre ValBio.
Dana's knowledge on medical plants expanded after graduating from Arbor Vitae when she returned to Kianjavato, Madagascar to take on a reforesting project, working with the local Ombiasa. Among the tribe is a Malagasay shaman (natural doctor) who Dana worked closely with in documenting the medical plants while further understanding the importance of rain forest conservation and it’s root causes, especially in impoverished regions.
A year after she left Kianjavato Dana went to a town called Ranomafana and a couple of her friends and community members were inspired to resurrect their family business of making essential oils. With a business concept like this, one can employ many community members and make a sizeable impact on rain forest protection! Along with her professor, they came up with the funds for an essential oil machine and that's when Dana whipped up her first set of body care products, using original essential oils from the region; Geranium, Calendula Body Oil, Ravintsara, and Lemon Body Oil.
Since then for almost two years, Dana has built her brand Ny’Ala from trying out recipes, developing her labels and website, branding and getting out into the community; all the while supporting the local farmers/developers in Ranomafana.
Dana started Ny'Ala with one main goal; to continue utilizing sustainable locally made ingredients for effective skin + beauty treatments, while promoting sustainability. Even her glass bottles are reusable as you can easily remove the sticker once you've finished the product.
“Ny’Ala means “from the rainforest” in Malagasy (language of Madagascar) and for me it embodies the mission – to bring more awareness and understanding of plants power and importance, every ingredient utilizes a plants magic and also donates to helping reforestation projects. To me, Ny’Ala means respecting mother nature, using her power in a sustainable matter and giving back when you take – it means balance. The beauty and wellness industry is consumed with unsustainable ingredients that have a bigger impact than we realize, so being aware of that and just making a better choice, or thinking holistically about your products makes a big difference. ”
— DANA CUTOLO
Prior to her studies at Arbor Vitae, Dana's initial interested in medicinal herbs sprouted in high school while working at a local health food store – seeing at all the tinctures, essences, herbs and plant remedies piqued her creativity. At that time, Dana was dealing with personal cosmetic and product allergies and figured that she might as well take products from the shop she worked at to create her own remedies.
Being a wiz with medicinal herbs, Dana understands the properties of different substances and can therefore apply them to address different skin treatments:
- Cannabis Serum to moisturize, cleanse and heal the inflammation of sensitive skin caused by crazy dry flakey breakouts of dermatitis. This was perfect for when my nose dried out from a terrible sinus infection; the eucalyptus she added in helped relieve the pressure in my sinuses.
-Coconut Face Mask for moisturizing and exfoliating mask in the summer. All you need is a bit of water to create e thickness t your liking, and then apply with a make up brush!
-Turmeric Balm was created for stubborn swollen pimples and painful wrists; the yellow from the turmeric is stunningly vibrant.
-Shimmering Bronzer Oil as an alternative to other tanning oils that would end up making skin feel greasy or break out! I wore this during a photoshoot at the Laylow Waikiki, which is perfect as I haven't tanned in a while. Even my booty was nice and bronzy!
There are always benefits from using high quality natural ingredient based products, therefore anyone and everyone can use Ny'Ala! Dana is a true believer in that everyone should understand the connection between the products and plants we use, and our environment.
“Ny’Ala is for everyone, especially those who value companies with a mission – so if you want to make great choice for your body and environment Ny’Ala is a great company to choose!”
— DANA CUTOLO
If you're ever interested in learning more about the uses of medicinal plants and how they're beneficial, check out Dana on Instagram as she posts updates for when she does her monthly workshops at Down to Earth. Sometimes you can find her at pop up events like Art + Flea, which she will be attending this August. I actually met Dana at local vendor event in Waikiki and was instantly drawn to her bottles (you know, just me being all about aesthetics). And when I quickly learned her mission and products, I was stoked to write about Dana and spread the word!
If you ever want a treatment like the Cannabis Serum or the Coconut Face Mask, you can shop Ny'Ala at:
- Down to Earth on S. King
- Mori in South Shore Market
- Waiahole Nursery and Garden Center
- Global Village Kailua
Also thank you to Landen for accompanying me to this meeting. He was actually getting over a bad cold and felt relief after taking a whiff of one of the Ny'Ala products! Check him out on Instagram as @genkiphotos for awesome portraits and his other creative content.
I hope that with this story it'll help spread positive influence to viewers to think more about the products we use today from drug stores and high end brands. I've certainly strayed away from using a lot of well-known brand items, being suspicious about their practices especially. Seeing Dana in her workshop studio sets my mind at ease knowing that she creates her products by hand in an controlled environment.
Dana is actually in the works of earning her Esthetician License - so looking forward, you can expect her to include holistic herbal services like facials, lashes and more!
"I am so excited to be able to work directly with people on their skin and beauty routines – that’s truly where my happy place is!"
Keep up the hustle Dana - you're doing amazing! "
How to achieve great skin after a breakout, with anti inflammatory Turmeric
Our skin is our largest organ, and it requires maintenance to perform well. We want clear + supple skin void of wrinkles and signs of aging.
Since I was a younger my mother stressed the importance of moisturizing, and although adding another step to your routine can sounds daunting - it works wonderrrrrssss to moisturize your body daily!
We need to treat the skin on your body as you do your face. While our body doesn't tend to have many hormone reactive areas, we still need to moisturize, especially in age-prone areas such as the chest, knees and neck!
Why Serums? They're light, full of active ingredients like botanicals - and are super concentrated!
Lotions + Creams vs. Serums + Oils -
Lotions contain over 90% water - while water is so good for our skin, and we must stay hydrated - it doesn’t have to be used to cut our products. This means that active ingredients, or the ingredients that really help your skin are only present in small amounts of 1-5%.
A serum + concentrated oil are the direct active ingredients. Our Tropical Body Serum contains Kukui Nut, Tamanu, Coconut + Grapeseed - the best
Lighter gel-like moisturizers are great for truly oily skin, on your face - but our body requires a little more - body serums + concentrated oils keep your skin moisturized and prevent dullness, fine lines, dry alligator-like spots and even prevent deep scars by promoting collagen production.
After showering, lightly pat yourself dry, spray our Tropical Healing Serum on your body while you’re a bit damp - then rub in and voila!
Using this serum (or any concentrated oil based product) while you're still wet creates and emulsion between the water = oil and allows your body to fully absorb the healthy oils! Similar to that we wish lotion was doing (but it isn't).
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