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email us at danacutolo@Ny-Ala.com

 

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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.

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 :)

Cold Weather Care for Skin, Body & Soul

Clara Perez

  Pinterest 2017

Pinterest 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 Pinterest 2017

Pinterest 2017

 

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

3 Self Care Tips for the Overwhelmed

Dana Cutolo

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

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

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

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

 

3 self care tips for when

you're completely overwhelmed


 

1.  Mini Spa Night At Home

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

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

 

2. Make a cup of tea or hot cacao!

My favorite teas for a quick calm are:

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

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

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

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

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

 

3. Get Outside!!!

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

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

 


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

 

 

 

 

 

Design Inspiration from Nature

Dana Cutolo

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

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

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

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

 

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How to Stock Your Own Rainforest-Friendly Makeup Bag

Clara Perez

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

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

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

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

 

Basic Moisturizing Oil

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Lip Moisturizing + Repair

 

Clay Based Facial Cleanser

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Under Eye Serum for Puffiness

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Healing Lip Treatment

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Sea Salt Hair Treatment

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Lip + Cheek Multi-Use Stain

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Ingredient Spotlight: Calendula

Dana Cutolo

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

Properties of Calendula

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

 

What Can I Use Calendula For?

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

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

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

 

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Edible Calendula

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

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

 

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