natural beauty

+ MORE, WELLNESS, SUSTAINABILITY

Sugaring

Sugaring at Sugared + Bronzed NYC

Sugaring at Sugared + Bronzed NYC

For the past couple of months I’ve been interested in sustainable beauty - and hair removal is a service often forgotten in this realm.

Traditional waxing vs. Sugaring

As I explain below, sugaring is more effective than traditional waxing, and that’s because of the main difference between them: the direction of hair removal.

Sugaring and traditional waxing are both hair removal essentially - hard wax uses a melted petrochemical paraffin based substance that is applied via a wooden stick, and sticks to hair and skin. Sugaring uses a natural paste made of sugar, lemon (citric acid) and water, which is applied to skin directly with a (gloved) hand and only sticks to the hair.

So, a heated and melted paraffin liquid vs. a candy looking sugar paste.

Sustainability

Traditional wax (hard wax) is made up of petrochemicals like paraffin wax, which does not easily or naturally break down in the environment.

So let’s think about this - you get a Brazilian wax and typically about 5-10 strips of hard wax is used and discarded, with a wooden application stick and gloves, you get this service every 4 weeks - that’s about 60-120 of each wax strips, nitrile gloves and wooden sticks per year, per client.

That’s a lot of waste on a large scale - and it is important we start to generally frame things in this way. It’s difficult to be sustainable and consider your impact in every part of your life - considering we have jobs, kids, pets, lives in general… so choosing simple things, like a better version of hair removal is the best way to minimize your impact without driving yourself crazy.

Sugaring is nearly zero waste - we toss only our 1 set of nitrile gloves, the bed linen and 2 cavi wipes per service - that’s nearly a quarter of the environmental impact of traditional waxing. Simple solutions…. and we’re making green living chic :)

Aside from the sustainability of sugaring, clients also prefer it because it’s great for sensitive skin.

Effectiveness + Skin Sensitivity

Clients choose sugaring over waxing for many reasons: sustainability, effectiveness, it’s less painful, and as a solution to wax reactions and sensitivity - overall it’s the best form of hair removal!

Traditional waxing methods tend to be less effective than sugaring. It is applied with the direction of growth, it sticks to skin and hair, then it’s removed against the direction of hair growth. This can lead to hair breakage, ingrown hairs, skin reactions and thicker grow back due to the root potentially not being removed. Generally, unless you have perfectly exfoliated skin and hair that isn’t prone to breakage, a lot will be left behind (albeit under the surface of the skin and not visible).

Sugaring is done differently because the natural paste doesn’t stick to skin, so we have to “mold” the paste into the hair to fully remove it. The paste is applied against the hair growth and then gently removed with the direction of growth, that’s what assure the entire hair with the root are removed. The direction of hair removal, the simple ingredient list, and the lack of heat are all factors that make sugaring more effective, and a great alternative for clients with sensitive skin.

After Care

For aftercare, it’s similar to any hair removal but keep in mind that if you have sensitive skin that you’ll want to assure products don’t have harsh ingredients or intense fragrance.

Below is a short guide, but essentially any time you remove hair and this have open follicles, you’ll want to avoid anything that can clog the pore (which leads to ingrowns!) or cause a reaction (like fragranced products and exfoliants) for 24 hrs.

For maintenance, we want to focus on getting the most effective hair removal. So you’ll want to keep your skin moisturized and we’ll exfoliated (since dry flakey skin can prevent hair from being removed or growing correctly).

I love using my nonclogging Tropical Body Serum daily after the shower, or if I have an ingrown I’ll mix earths fuller clay with the Botanical Soothing Gel and follow up the the cleaning and anti-inflammatory Cannabis Serum.

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Where can I get sugared?

So many places are popping up now that sugaring is becoming more popular. In NYC, I work at Sugared + Bronzed - the top spot for sugaring (and natural customized airbrush tans!). There are also a ton of DIY recipes for sugar paste - but proceed with caution because it’s essentially like making candy and that can be a bit difficult.

PLANT REMEDIES, + MORE

How to Make a Glycerin Tincture

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.

 

+ MORE

Fashion Gabbs x Ny'Ala

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! "