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+ 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.

INGREDIENTS, PLANT REMEDIES, WELLNESS, + MORE

Aloe Gel D.I.Y.

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It’s July 5th and we’re all sunburned and exhausted - in NYC it’s a perfect cloudy and chilly day recovery day.

There are so many ways to use aloe…

Aloe vera is one of my favorite soothing plants, when I’ve really damaged my skin (sunburn, beach day, camping or if I have a reaction), if I’ve had stomach issues (indigestion, acid or ulcer pain), and when I get a dry irritated scalp - essentially, Aloe is a savior.

A list of it’s uses:

  1. Drink - Aloe is alkaline which helps to neutralize acidic foods in your stomach, and in your blood. It supports the stomach lining as well, helping to repair ulcers and prevent them from getting larger or more inflamed. Drinking aloe vera 1-2x per day for a week can help ease stomach ailments, or re-alkalize the body. Drink this when youre feeling sick, on a light detox or have ulcer pain. I like to add aloe gel to a chlorophyll slushie (ice + lemon + chlorophyll drop + aloe) or a green juice!

  2. Skin - For topical use, it’s gentle, anti-inflammatory, supports collagen production and it’s moisturizing. I add aloe to masks for repairing / calming / soothing, or as a topical moisturizer for the face + body, and it’s especially useful for healing cuts (only cuts that have already formed a dense scab!) - add it to the Soothing Botanical Gel Mask Base with green tea / matcha powder or spirulina for a post-beach day mask.

  3. Hair - My scalp gets super dry in the middle of summer and then again in the winter. I use an aloe based hair mask when there’s an extreme change in temperature, a sunburn or i’ve excessively used products that dry my scalp - or just to add extra moisture to my dry frizzy italian hair! Aloe soothes the scalp, repairs dead skin cells, and adds natural shine + moisture!

    I make a mask with aloe gel + rosemary + 5 drops black seed serum



D.I.Y. Aloe Vera Gel

  • Use the giant Aloe stalks you find in the grocery store - or use your own, but avoid tiny leaves since there won’t be too much of the fleshy middle in them!

  • Carefully cut / peel the top green layer off - be careful not to cut too deep into the flesh, the peel is very thin.

  • You can use a spoon to scoop out the flesh - or cut the bottom peel too - this will reveal the clear, goopy and slimy aloe flesh. This is the good stuff!

  • Toss all the goop into a blender / food processor and blend until a gel forms.

*** This is NOT preserved, so it will go back in about 1 week, refrigerated. You can freeze aloe into ice cubes and melt when you want to use them - or make herbal recovery packs! Recipe on those gems coming soon…






WELLNESS, PLANT REMEDIES, + MORE

Ashwagandha + Hibiscus Cold Remedy Tea

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It’s officially March - and in New York City that means it’s the last mass flu / cold / sickness - we’re all feeling a bit crappy. The weather goes up into the 60’s and plummets into a sub zero freeze, then snows and it starts all over.

This type of scenario calls for a vitamin rich adaptogenic + hydrating tea, and for me, it has to be something tart that I’ll actually drink throughout the day. I love this blend because it’s hydrating, full of vitamin C and it boosts the immune system while chillin you out.

I love the mix of Hibiscus, Ashwagandha and Rosehip because I can bear to drink it while I’m sick and it’s loaded with all the good stuff. Scroll down to the bottom for all of the benefits :)

HIBISCUS + ASHWAGANDHA + ROSE HIP TEA

COLD BLEND #1

Materials:

  • Big Jar of Filtered Water - I recommend the Berkey Filter if you’re struggling to find a filter!

  • Muslin Bag or Tea Strainer

  • Ball Jar with Cap (if using a muslin bag - it helps keep it in place!

Recipe:

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PLANT REMEDIES, WELLNESS, + MORE, INGREDIENTS

Cannabis - Hemp Seed Oil + CBD Oil

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My famous Cannabis Serum has stirred up a couple questions – and even got me booted from a deal with a major big box retailer (… Hemp Seed Oil is NOT the same as THC or CBD extractions!). So I thought this was the perfect time to talk about all the wonderful pakalolo products 😊!

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Cannabis is a beautiful healing plant with hundreds of valuable components, that’s why we have so many different options when it comes to using it. Between CBD, THC, oils, extracts, Hemp, and legalities….. oof, it’s easy to get confused.

Cannabis contains over 400 useful compounds, and 60+ cannabinoids; those are the compounds that act on our bodies natural “endocannabinoid” system and heal us.

The main two compounds we know are THC + CBD – they can be used individually or together to balance each other out. Since we developed a method of pulling THC + CBD apart, there has been a massive flood of cannabis products on the market. They are all different preparations of the same plant.

image by kazoka on istockphoto.com

image by kazoka on istockphoto.com


Why are there so many different Canna products?

We rely on plants for nearly everything – which it is important to value plants, nature and protect our rainforests (they are home to our most valuable compounds, both discovered and undiscovered).

Plants can be used in many ways – whole, as tinctures, extracts, poultices, infusions, decoctions, powdered, in tablets or capsules, burned in smudges, or inhalants and more. Each preparation method allows us to customize the potency of the herbal remedy, so an extraction or tincture is generally of higher potency and will contain more of the desired active compound.

We can make light extractions at home, or pharmaceutical companies can make a super potent extraction with fancy equipment – think caffeine pills vs. coffee, or willowbark vs. aspirin. A whole cold-pressed oil or a tea / infusion can be used as a quick remedy and an extract can be used as a supplement, medicine, or an active ingredient depending on the strength.

Therefore you’ll see Hemp CBD extracts promoted for supplemental or medicinal use, and Hemp Seed Cold-Pressed Oil for beauty, moisturizing, rebalancing or as a omega fatty-acid supplement. Both have incredible benefits, but each have a slightly different makeup and can be used differently.

 

Marijuana Infused Oil (THC)  vs.  Hemp Seed Oil  vs.  CBD Oil

Products are typically marketing for nutritional or medicinal products and beauty products. We have several types of Cannabis and their primary uses and differences – mainly we know of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that causes the high, and Cannabidiol (CBD).

Indica-dominant strains tend to have a higher cannabidiol content than the sativa plants in which THC content is higher – and then there is the raw cold pressed oil made from the neutral fatty  seeds.

 

Marijuana Infused Oil

               Cannabis infused oil is typically referring to edibles – which can be made with CBD oil or THC oil – but typically we think of an infused oil as a THC containing oil infused by heating the marijuana flowers in fat. This is not a true “extract”, it’s more of a variation on how to consume / metabolize the marijuana.

There are companies that used infused oil, like Foria, for medicinal benefits – but unless youre a medical patient or live in a recreation-legal state, you’re highly unlikely to be able to purchase an infusion containing THC. So, any “hemp oil” or “hemp oil extract” product should not be confused with this.

 

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Pure Cold Pressed Hemp Seed Oil

Like other cold pressed oils (Olive, Grape Seed, Corn, Avocado, Sesame, Peanut) we take the seeds/nuts and press them to express the oil. The seeds of hemp contain nearly no THC, and a small amount of CBD – the value of hemp seeds is in the protein, fatty acids and fiber… but only the seeds are used and they aren’t as potent as the rest of the plant.

Hemp Seed Oil is incredible for dietary and beauty purposes, which is why I created the Cannabis Serum. Hemp Seed Oil is non-comedogenic, meaning is won’t “clog pores” by hardening in your follicles and it’s easily absorbed by the skin.

It helps heal and support inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis by being anti-inflammatory and light. Read more about the skin benefits of Hemp here.

 

Hemp Extracted CBD Oil

CBD is extracted using the whole hemp plant – it provides relief without the psychoactive effects, or the “high” caused by THC.

This is incredible for medicine, because without the high, there are more uses – for anxiety, pain management, inflammation and more. We only had the ability to separate CBD from the rest of the Canna plant since 2012 (thanks Isreal, you a real one)… so that really opened the flood gates for CBD based products.

In order to separate CBD from the THC and other parts of the plant, we have to extract it - the result is a medicinal strength concentrate of the CBD compound. So, what is the extraction process like?

Well, much like other herbal extractions, we first pick the most potent strains, those plants with the most CBD content. Then there a couple different common methods –oil extraction, isolate extraction, alcohol extraction, ethanol, CO2…. I know, that sounds like a lot, but they are just methods of pulling the compound into a solution and burning off the solution to get the medicine!

 

My CBD recommendations – I’ll write another piece on this, with product links, too!

The best kind of CBD product to get: full spectrum, USA grown. I would recommend that the product have a good complimentary ingredient like MCT oil (a potent extraction from coconut oil) because it regulates lipid metabolism, or a small ratio of THC if you are able to use that.

Avoid products that are “hemp seed oil” – CBD products should at least have “Hemp Seed Extract”.

Dosage will depend on your needs and tolerance, but it’s best to take small doses throughout the day (2-3 times, or as needed) rather than one single large dose.

 

               I would love to hear what you all think! If there are any questions, comments or recommendations comment below 😊!

 

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Some more reading material -

  1. Cannabis, a complex plant:      different compounds and different effects on individuals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736954/

  2. List of Major Cannabinoids      in Cannabis and Their Effects. https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/list-major-cannabinoids-cannabis-effects

  3. From Clone To Concentrate:      CBD processing. https://www.projectcbd.org/industry/clone-concentrate-how-cbd-oil-made

 

Food as Medicine, PLANT REMEDIES, + MORE

Blood Orange

 

Blood Oranges – their beautiful deep red color makes it one of my favorite citrus fruits. The blood orange Pelligrino was my favorite drink (that can has 32 g of sugar, damn!). My stepfather Dominic grew up growing and eating blood oranges in the hills of his hometown in Sicily, so he buys them every year. Food is funny in the way that it connects history, health, emotion and visual beauty together.

Aside from the blood orange being beautiful, it also has incredible health benefits too, so it’s worth switching blood oranges for your tangerines on occasion. They contain:

-        Anthocyanins – Blood oranges have that deep red bloody color because of their highe concentration of this flavonoid, higher than all other orange types (kinda sounds like something Trump would say). This anti-oxidant helps inhibit cancer cell growth, induces programmed cell death (our bodies way of removing precancerous cells rather than supporting them), and helps protect cells from mutating.

-        Vitamin a – Blood oranges of course have a provitamin a, beta carotene that supports the reproductive and immune systems, cell function, and vision.

-        Vitamin c - which stimulates the production of collagen, supports the immune system, increases iron absorption, and it’s necessary for cartilage and muscles. One blood orange has 66 mg, almost 100% daily value of Vitamin C.

Clearly, these fruits are amazing. You can eat them straight, add to a salad, or smoothie, blend with coconut milk and make popsicles.. or juice them.

One of my favorite ways to consume blood orange is squeezing it into sparkling water, the better version of San Pellegrino arancia rossa 😊.

Diversity of color in your diet is so important, not only for the body, but the mind too. Don’t we all feel better when we consume something thoughtful and beautiful? You deserve pretty food!

PLANT REMEDIES, WELLNESS, + MORE

Pine Needle Bath Soak

The day after Christmas always felt very relaxing, we’re all winding down from the holiday buzz, most of us have the day off and it’s chilly out- so it’s a restorative day. 

Since the summer I’ve been dealing with a pretty painful neck injury - so a pine soak for muscle recovery. Pine is also used for stress relief, skin irritation and as a boost of Vitamin A.

 

For this soaking bath I aimed to soothe my muscles, stress relief, to clear sinuses and celebrating winter. 

I gathered pine and rinsed them in the sink, drew a bath. I added Epsom Salt, colloidal oats and the Pine bundles in... while diffusing eucalyptus oil. 

 Perfect ending to the holiday 🌿

PLANT REMEDIES, + MORE

Rose + Rosemary Smudge

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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.

 

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! "

 

 

WELLNESS, + MORE

Grief + Health

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.

 

WELLNESS, + MORE

Hydration vs. Moisturizing

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.

WELLNESS, PLANT REMEDIES, + MORE, INGREDIENTS

Turmeric: The Inflammation Super Hero

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.

 

+ MORE, WELLNESS

Natural Products I’m Currently Using

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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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WELLNESS, + MORE, PLANT REMEDIES

Quick Read: 5 Essential Oils for Flu Season

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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SUSTAINABILITY, + MORE, ZERO WASTE

Thoughts on Conservation, the Environment and Natural Beauty

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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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+ MORE

Closing 2017

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