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Staten Island, New York

(929) 269-2306

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.

End of Summer Skin Repair

Dana Cutolo

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!

Exfoliation

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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!



Massage

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!



Hydration

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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!



Moisture

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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.

Rose + Rosemary Smudge

Dana Cutolo

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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.

 

How to Make a Glycerin Tincture

Dana Cutolo

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

Vegetable Glycerin

Distilled Water

Herb of your choice (Calendula, Lavender, Rose Buds, Licorice Root, Turmeric)

Cheese Cloth

Funnel (optional)

Lots of hand towels + sink access!

 

Steps

1. Gather the ingredients + materials

2. Add the herbs to the jar

 

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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.

 

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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).

 

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How to Strain Your Tincture

1. Use a clean ball jar, a funnel and cheesecloth!

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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.

 

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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

Dana Cutolo

 

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

Peppermint

Green Tea

Epsom Salt

Diffuse Lemon Grass or Eucalyptus during your bath!

 

Skin Softening + Calming

Coconut Milk
(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)

Epsom Salt

 

Detoxing #1

Epsom Salt

Bentonite Clay (2 tsp)

Lavender Buds (or EO)

and Green Tea (in a tea bag is okay!)
 

Detoxing #2

Bentonite or Aztec Clay

1 pinch of Activated Charcoal

Ginger (raw 1/4 cup, dried 2-3 tsp)

Epsom Salt
 

Sun Burn

Green Tea

a litttttle (1-2 tsp) Apple Cider Vinegar

Peppermint

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!)

Fashion Gabbs x Ny'Ala

Dana Cutolo

I have to give a huge thanks for the complete badass Gabby (www.fashiongabbs.com) and Landen from @GenkiPhotos for featuring my products and my studio! 

Read the article below - or in it's full glory at Fashion Gabbs (click to be directed!)

 

" 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

Thank you so much Dana for having us at your beautiful workshop and sharing your amazing story! You can follow her on Instagram at @nyalaskincare and shop online at www.ny-ala.com/

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! "

 

 

Importance of Body Serums

Dana Cutolo

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.   

 

Low-Maintenance routine:

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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Grief + Health

Dana Cutolo

June 6 1949 - my fathers birthday and May 26 1999 - the day my father disappeared and October 2008, the day we sort of found out what happened to him.

An almost 20 year battle with emotional trauma and the death of my father left me broken and grieving for most of my life... until this year. At 28 years old I have finally learned that closure is the cure to grief, for me at least. Throughout my life I have been embarrassed to tell this story - and now, I am not. My father, William Cutolo, was an amazing man - and I finally am able to honor him.

Emotional pain can cause many health conditions - it's overall devastating for the body. We are essentially in a 'fight or flight' mode, and as a result our body cannot heal itself, absorb nutrients, allow for proper rest or balance your hormones correctly. Adrenal fatigue is a real thing - and before we change our diet and introduce herbs or medication, we must confront the root of the problem because it will continue to show up in every area of your life.

So - in essence, to mitigate stress, declining health or to clear your energy you MUST start with confronting the root. This doesn't have to be a long or difficult process, but here's what I did.

Last year, May 2017, I decided that I needed to change my life, and I moved to Hawai'i with the most amazing, caring, loving man I've ever met. This was a leap of faith, but I knew that if I didn't trust him, and myself and just take the plunge - I would forever regret it. Along the journey from New York to Hawai'i, I made another damn bold move - I contacted my brother, who, up until a couple of months prior, I haven't seen or spoken to since I was nine years old. 

That was an incredible experience. Having my whole world implode at nine wasn't easy - but hiding this pain was worse. Reaching out to him may have been difficult, but it was the best way to confront my past and enjoy the great parts - like how damn similar we look, and act, and think - who knew family had such similarities - joking!

Fast forward a year - May 26 2018, my good friend made a simple comment to me "we should get Italian food and celebrate him" … WELL DUH. Why is it that we assume things have to be a dramatic thing? A simple celebration in a beautiful place - why haven't I thought of that?

… so my amazing fiancee' bought my father a royal lei - and we went off to China Walls to toss it into the madly waving pacific ocean at sunset. So freeing. The water went from calm to violently bursting crashing waves when I threw the lei in, that was my father, I know it.

…. I feel so free, so calm, so connected to his spirit - and finally, I can start to heal in an effective way.

 

Hydration vs. Moisturizing

Dana Cutolo

Since summer is here - let's talk about hydration. Just like other skin care routines like moisturizing, toning, cleaning and masking - hydration is absolutely key.

Keeping hydrated is the best way to assure your body is removing toxins and digesting properly to absorb nutrients. We all want plump beautiful skin, so we should be drinking half our body weight in water every day!

So, what's difference between moisturizing your skin and drinking water? 

In essence: hydrating brings water to the skin and moisturizing keeps the water within the skin - we are always aiming for a perfect balance of hydration and moisture.

 

Hydration Vs. Moisture

Hydration is bringing water to the skin via our food and water. This helps the skin say supple and function properly (shedding, creating new skin cells, detoxifying etc.). This makes sense because when our body is hydrated it operates at a higher capacity and is able to cleanse + detoxify itself, allowing our skin to be more radiant and health. When we are hydrated we are less prone to dull skin, fine lines, and aggravated dry red spots.

Moisture is the skins ability to keep that water in the body and keep the skin hydrated - this is our oil content. Oily skin types tend to have an overabundance and dry skin types have less oil, which makes it hard for their skin to keep the water content at an optimal level. 

Each skin type varies a bit in the amount of moisturizing and the type of moisturizer that will work best, but everyone must be hydrated.

I know I'm not alone in this, but drinking almost 70 oz of water a day get's pretty hard for me. These are my favorite water recipes for skin care!

 

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D.I.Y. NATURALLY FLAVORED WATER

Lemon / Lime Water Activates the liver to help with detoxifying and its a great boost of vitamin c - great for combination skin types! 

Basil is a natural antiseptic, you can even use this as an acne face rinse or steam in an at-home facial. Plus, it's great fix for dry mouth or bad breath!

Mint is a natural blood purifier and contains natural salicylic acid, you can use this in a steam for a facial during a break out.

Watermelon is super tasty, hydrating and gorgeous! Watermelon contains vitamin C + A, antioxidants and lycopene! Watermelon naturally increases collagen production, so this is a great summer drink especially for those who tan!

Green Tea contains tons of antioxidants, a light amount of caffeine and boosts your immune system.

Apple Cider Vinegar is toning to the skin (use diluted), it naturally activates the liver + helps aid in digestion.

Turmeric: The Inflammation Super Hero

Dana Cutolo

So, I love turmeric, the little life saving anti-inflammatory root with an intense yellow-orange hue and spicy flavor. Known an ‘Ōlena in Hawai'i, this root is used for everything from skin care, tea, spice, curry, and more. 

Our Turmeric Balm was created to be used to combat inflammatory skin conditions like stubborn painful swollen pimples, small infections, or - like in my case, an entire face full of wicked sunburn. That's what I get for not re-applying my sunscreen despite knowing I should - I was out for nearly 10 hours, so it's my fault I got burned hah, thanks nature!

So - this is one of the many ways to use our Turmeric Balm - as a rescue mask for sunburn. I applied to my entire face and left it for 30 minutes - to avoid any mild skin staining (disappears in a couple hours ) you can also leave it on for 10-15 min. then wash your face normally.

 

Detox Bathing + Heat for Healing

Dana Cutolo

Water - necessary for life and healing in so many ways. Coming from Hawai'i to New York I didn't expect to be this shocked by how dry the air is. I started to think about how important heat and humidity is for overall health.. our sinuses are moisturized, blood and lymph flows better so we are less prone to sickness, no static or that dry taute feeling on your skin. 

While living in New York I heavily relied on baths, tea, humidifiers and herbs that promote blood flow and warmth. This is my absolute favorite recipe for days when you feel worn down, exhausted, unhealthy or if you have a cold, flu or chest congestion. This recipe uses a combination of heat, salt, ginger and lavender to induce sweating and detoxifying.

I usually leave this in a giant ball jar next to my bath so I won't have to make a batch everytime. Today this bath saved me - especially since it's so chilly out!


GINGER DETOX BATH

1/2 cup ginger (powdered or finely chopped - just not the jar kind with added sugar!)

2 cups epsom salt

15 - 20 drops of Lavender Essential oil

How to use: Mix all ingredients or put them in a jar and shake it up! Add to a warm bath and hop in.  **Make sure you have water to hydrate yourself, I usually end up drinking about 24 oz. 
You'll want to stay in the bath for 15-20 minutes - if you feel dizzy just get out, lay down on a towel and get back in one more time. You can repeat this 2-3 times if you want to. Dry off gently and slowly, if you're sick with congestion or flu, but a vapor rub on your chest. Tie your hair back and get into cotton or lightweight pajamas, preferably pants and go to bed!

What to expect: This blend works to stimulate your blood flow and helps the body to sweat out illness essentially, so you're going to sweat throughout the night because the ginger and epsom salt are bringing heat to the skin. In the morning take a shower if you can!

 

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below!

 

Natural Products I’m Currently Using

Dana Cutolo

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So lately I’ve been having the strangest problem finding good deodorant- and so many of my friends are having the same issue, so thankully I’m not alone. I went to Down to Earth (www.downtoearthhi.com) and scrambled through their natural deodorant section only to find a gem (thank you DTE!!!!). The Patchouli + Buriti rose hip deodorant by Nubian Heritage. It’s the perfect amount of Patchouli and it isn’t overwhelming- I wish they made a perfume of this, I would bathe in it 😍

The weather has been so strange in Honolulu, rainy and slightly chilly but still humid- so my struggle is having the energy to get up and look alive. I’ve been obsessed with this locally made body powder by Mamalani (https://www.mamalani.com/) and I’m using for my hair as a quick dry shampoo to freshen up (especially when I’m in a rush). It’s locally made in Hawai’i, by Hawaiians and it smells like heaven!

I’ve also been using my Coffee Under Eye serum roller to de-puff my eyes in the morning and our Shimmering Bronzer Stick to get a moisturized bronze look since I haven’t gotten sun in over a week!

What’s been on your radar, which products are you currently using and love? 

 🌿💗 

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Raw Kava Hot Chocolate + A Little Self Love

Dana Cutolo

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Sometimes we run ourselves to the ground and need a little recovery. The past couple of weeks I’ve truly overworked myself. Mostly I’ve been hard on myself and being emotionally burnt out is sometimes harder to deal with than physical exhaustion.

Ive always dealt with minor depression and anxiety, so I find myself burning out quicker than I should. I know that when I feel this way I should start taking supportive adaptogenic herbs and eating regularly.

One of my favorite recipes to calm down at night is this raw cacao drink- a version of hot chocolate that had essential fats for the brain, magnesium to calm your nerves and kava for anxiety and overthinking.

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 Recipe

1 tbsp Raw Cacao Powder 

1/2 cup coconut cream

3 tbs maple syrup or coconut sugar

1/4 cup water (or strained kava water)

2 full droppers of kava kava tincture (I love herb pharm brand) 

 

how to

- heat the coconut cream + water + maple syrup and whip to froth

- add the cacao powder and whip some more

- take off heat and add kava, stir and enjoy

 

** if you prefer to make kava water, use that in place of the 1/4 cup water! 

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I like to enjoy this with a nice face mask and a movie. 

enjoy 💗 

My Morning Skin Routine for February

Dana Cutolo

What a month it has been!!! I had my baby brother visit me in Hawai'i, and a LOT of work - so needless to say my skin reacted to stress and overall exhaustion.

When I get a small breakout, I usually go for a gentle toner, like Heritage Store's Rose Spray and a gentle clay cleanser like the Magic Clay Cleanser or Detox Charcoal Cleanser and cleansing dry oil like the Cannabis Serum - which has immense anti-inflammatory powers!

In the beginning of the month I got a massive pimple directly in the middle of my face and it swelled up after I slept directly on it.... which, is a solid reminder to just stick to your skin care routine morning and night - and do not sleep in makeup (even if youre collapsing from exhaustion and fully believe the ocean removed everything from your face). I mean, LOOK AT THAT THING! It resolved in three days - my emergency protocol:

  • Turmeric Balm - put a little bit directly onto the pimple (I'll blog a recipe for this, and it will be live on the site tomorrow afternoon to buy!)
  • Clay  - bentonite, french green, earths fuller or rhassoul - use as a spot treatment and layer onto the turmeric balm.
  • ....... leave it on 15 minutes, wash off with a charcoal cleanser and spray on a toner.
  • Then use a eucalyptus based dry oil, or our Cannabis Serum to follow up.

Crisis semi-averted. I go for menthol based essential oils in a roller bottle as a spot treatment on the go, if it's realllllly bad.

So - this incident led to me strictly following a cleansing - but gentle - routine for the rest of the month. I have some pretty terrible skin allergies to fragrance oils and harsh herbal blends, so the soap-less cleansers work for me. I'll add in a soap based cleanser every once in a while if I've used a lot of makeup a couple days in a row.

Here's a quick video of my normal morning skin care routine. (don't mind the red/pink light, i use it in the morning instead of a bright white/blue light). 

For my face: Dextox Charcoal Cleanser + Cannabis Serum + Coffee Under Eye Serum (for puffy bags that the pink light is hiding)

For my teeth: Flouride Free Dr. Bronners Toothpaste + Activated Charcoal (2-3z per week) and Oregano Oil Rinse (2x per week).

 

Quick Read: 5 Essential Oils for Flu Season

Dana Cutolo

Winter for the northern hemisphere is cold, dry and we're all battling several strains of the demon flu. Essential oils won't heal your flu solely (except for oregano, that will), but they will sure make it hella more bearable! 

I made a list of my top 5 must have essential oils for healing exhaustion, flu and cold symptoms such as stuffiness (and irritability). *** Also, all of these oils are from sustainable and quick growing trees + herbs :)

Let's start with ways to use essential oils:

- Diffusing: Adding 15 drops to a diffuser and letting it fill the room

- Topical by adding to a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil

- Add to a bath to release mucus and relieve headaches

- Internally ** only some essential oils should be used this way


 

You can blend essential oils or use them singularly for a variety of conditions and/or just to have an amazing smell permeated through your room without smoke (like from a candle or incense). Diffusing essential oils helps me tremendously with so many conditions, such as congestion, stress, anxiety, insomnia, migraines, body pains, asthma, allergies..... and in place of a candle when your house gets stuffy. 

Okay, so the essential oils:

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1. Ginger Essential Oil

Life giving is my only way to describe this oil - add a couple drops, or if its easier put a cup of sliced ginger in a cotton bag (muslin bag on Amazon) and place it in the bath. if you have some mustard seed + lavender you can add that too.

The ginger will bring heat to the body and help your body expel mucus, especially in the weeks after your sick.



 

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2. Oregano Essential Oil

Oregano is essentially a natural anti-biotic, it's anti-viral and anti-microbial. You can put two drops under the tongue or take it in a shot of water twice to three times a day.

I've used oregano to heal small stubborn wounds, gingivitis, and viral illness; also if used with echinacea it can help you heal super quick! On our road trip across America this year, I had intensely swollen lymph nodes, so i grabbed my hot tea and oregano oil and it died down in a couple of days.

 

 

3. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus globulus is a menthol, almost camphor like scent that clears your nasal ways and helps relieve asthma symptoms and migraines.

I constantly keep this on me, in a roller bottle with Lavender and Grapeseed oil. About 30 drops of each, making it a super powerful and effective oil. I'll just open it up and smell it when i have a migraine, im exhausted of stuffy.

When you're really bed tied - just diffuse this oil, and if you have olive or coconut oil, add 15 drops to a little bit of it and apply it under your nose. If you're asthmatic, boil a pot of water or just fill a bowl with hot sink water and add a few drops, put your face over it and breathe in. Make it more effective by putting a scarf over you and the bowl to create a small steam space. 

 

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4. Lavender

We all know how amazing lavender is... it's essential a cure-all. I carry this for anxiety, stress, stuffy nose, migraine and body pains. 

Add this to another oil like olive or coconut or water in a spray bottle. For body pains I massage this oil onto your body after a hot shower. 

Diffuse this oil at night to enhance sleep, lower stress and get a full night of sleep. 

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5. Lemongrass

This is one of my favorite oils to diffuse while I take a bath, it genuinely feels like you're in a spa - except you didn't pay a stupid amount of money and nobody is there to bother you :). 

Lemongrass helps to reduce fever and inflammation, and brings clarity to the mind so you can stop feeling fuzzy and disoriented. I feel that way a solid week after the flu. 

It's extremely strong, so diffuse only a little and if youre adding it to a bath a single drop in the running water is enough. 

 

 

I'm going to go diffuse some oils and de-stress! If you want to subscribe to our email list to receive a notification when we post just sign up below!

Mahalo!

 

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Thoughts on Conservation, the Environment and Natural Beauty

Dana Cutolo

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Perception is a funny thing. - everything we see and perceive as reality is only based on our experiences. Sometimes we think we are doing good but we are actually causing unseen harm.

I see this in the natural beauty sector. It's easy to assume that because something is labelled 'natural', 'environmentally safe' or 'vegan' that it's automatically a safe choice. Most of the time this is true, and we cannot expect everyone to invest time out of their busy days to investigate labels (trust me, I don't want to do that either -_- ), but creating a basis for understanding our environment can help take the guess work out of being sustainable.

What is "Sustainable", well it's being able to use a resource without infringing on its natural habitat or using so much of it that it becomes endangered (i.e. rosewood, etc).

Here are some key points in determining a products sustainability:

  1. Are the ingredients quick growing? Do they grow quickly like rosemary, orange, lemon, peppermint, lavender or eucalyptus for example. Slow growing, hard wood trees like Sandalwood , Frankincense and Rosewood are not sustainable, despite labels claiming that they are "verified sustainably farmed" - think about it, any tree that takes many years to develop has the potential (and usually is) illegally overharvested and bought from a black market.
    Bottom line: do we need to cosmetically use ingredients that harm the earth? No.
     
  2. Don't assume vegan is better for the earth. For example BEESWAX!!! I know, vegans think beeswax is wrong because it's an animal product. That determination is wrong because nature is not that simple. Beekeepers live and breathe for the safety and health of their bees, and the extraction of beeswax is a carefully managed procedure that does not harm or kill bees in anyway shape of form. Vegan waxes such as soy, palm, and carnauba wax is extremely unsustainable. Palm and carnauba come directly from trees that aren't sustainably grown - why use them? Beeswax comes from a caring farmer that values bees and the resource is 100% sustainable, whereas vegan waxes are not. 
     
  3. Plastic containers or excessive packaging I always prefer to buy products that have a reusable or easily recyclable in your location.

These are just some quick and easy beginner tips to sustainable cosmetic choices! I'll be discussing this topic in a more depth in future blogs so stay tuned!

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Closing 2017

Dana Cutolo

What a year it has been... I don't exactly know where to start. A quote from Yoga Girl can accurately sum it up: 

"Every time I thought I was being rejected, I was actually being redirected towards something better."

2017 was a crazy year... and it all started around December of 2016. I was in a dark, bad place in my life. I had just gotten out of an unhealthy relationship and I had really started to see my own flaws clearly. 2016 had gotten the best of me, I was not confident, chronically exhausted, physically unhealthy - I was ignoring myself in an effort to please others, and that only leads you to a breakdown. Because I was in a completely devastating depression it was easy to put every goal I had on the back burner. I told myself, one day I'll get to that, soon I'll have time for this - there is never going to be a better time to put yourself first.

Thankfully, there are some pretty amazing and inspiring people in my life that were able to motivate my to change my situation. Every thing in your life, to an extent, is within your control. If you aren't happy it's up to you to change it... So that's what I did - I booked a flight to Oahu, Hawai'i for 2 weeks to get my head straight for the new year. When I returned I felt brand new, on a life high (or on a hi-life ;) ). I had reconnected with my now fiance', the love of my life - the one person that builds me up every single day and sees me for who i really am... When you feel that revitalizing life force, you need to chase it, however crazy it seems because you owe that to yourself. 

That was in January 2017 - after a long cross-country trip from New York to California, living on a boat for months and becoming a mom to the most perfect angel dog in this world - now, in December, I call Oahu home. I can honestly say I am dedicated to changing what isn't right in my life, instead of dwelling on it. Find solutions instead of just seeing dead ends... and don't let anyone put out your fire for life.

I'm realizing this is a vast over-simplification of everything that led up to me moving here - but maybe I'll save the rest for another day.

What's Next in 2018? 

My top new years resolutions are:

  1. Exploring the rainforests, taking in the beauty of this world and learning to give myself time to enjoy nature... 
  2. Planting more trees! 
  3. Become more minimalist and creating less trash waste.
  4. Spread the message of Ny'Ala and donate more to reforestation!

I have partnered with an amazing organization called "Reforest Hawai'i" and I will be launching new products that will donate directly to planting Koa trees on the Big Island of Hawai'i.

These products include a Tropical Body Serum packed with Hawaiian plant oils, a Tropical moisturizing hair perfume and plant cosmetics :) If you're interested in donating to them now, all of our new apparel donates $5 per item! 

I am so excited for the new year and all it has in store for us! If you're interested in writing for Ny'Ala, or being a Brand Ambassador - email me at DanaCutolo@Ny-Ala.com !

Happy New Year!

x

Glitter is Taking Over the World.... In A Bad Way

Dana Cutolo

But really - we've come to realize that micro-plastics have seeped into every crevice of earth - including the inside of the fish we eat... well, glitter is a micro plastic. Microplastics have the potential to damage our environment severely, and because of their size, they are extremely difficult or impossible to clean up. 

Plus - don't you hate that you can never get glitter off of you after you apply it? I do..

 National Geographic 2017

National Geographic 2017

An article from National Geographic "To Save the Oceans, Should You Give Up Glitter?" explains this best, here are some quotes:

“All glitter should be banned because it’s microplastic and all microplastics leak into the environment,”

"Glitter is made from plastic sheets and used in a wide array of products, including cosmetics. When washed down the drain, glitter becomes a subset of marine plastic litter known as microplastic. Microplastics, which measure less than five millimeters in length, are found throughout the world’s oceans, from the surface to the deep sea floor. They are consumed by plankton, fish, shellfish, seabirds, and other marine life. Plastic bits collect in birds’ stomachs, where they can cause them to die of starvation. Scientists have become increasingly concerned about its effects on fish and other marine life."

This is a HUGE bummer to glitter lovers everywhere, but there are other options. Mica, a mineral dust / powder that is a natural shimmer is great replacement for glitter. Ny'Ala Shimmer Oil + Shimmer Bronzer Stick were originally, and still are, formulated with natural + unaltered bronze Mica powder - because we never supported using plastic on your skin.

Why do companies use Glitter rather than Mica? Because glitter is cheaper (it's a manufactured plastic), there is a wider variety of color since it's physically made, it's a bigger particle size and has a more bold appearance. Mica is smaller in particle size. 

For us at Ny'Ala, mica is a more natural glow / shimmer / highlight, and it's safer for the body and the environment.

If you're looking for alternative shimmering cosmetics, you can shop our Shimmer Bronzing Oil + Shea Butter Bronzer Stick! 

Let's all try to commit to making the world a better, healthier place for all by finding alternatives to damaging products.

.... it doesn't seem like your single cosmetic choice can make a difference, but it does.

My Basic Balm Recipe

Dana Cutolo

Natural balms are great for winter- I carry them everywhere! You can do literally everything: lip balm, eyebrow + fly always + edge pomade, matte lip balm remover (works wonders for a matte lip stick reapplication while out!), dry spots, cuticles, removing makeup, add to a mask instead of oil for a balmy glow.

Get ready for winter and make a whole batch, put one in every bag so you’ll never be dry and patchy!

 

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You can use this basic formula as a skeleton for every balm or salve recipe. Add essential oils (like rose, lavender or camphor) or substitute oil for an infused oil - my favorites are Calendula infused olive oil and lavender or plantain infused oils

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 :)