Tag Archives: beauty benefits

Two Loves: Argan Oil and Abe’s Natural Market

18 Jul

Obviously, we are fans of Argan oil and its benefits. It is a star ingredient in several of our products. So, we were happy to see when it got some star treatment on Abe’s Market online magazine: “5×5: 5 Reasons to Love Argan Oil.”  http://bit.ly/W8p8qN.

And we were very proud to have one of our serums chosen to be featured.  Thanks Abe’s!

Head over to Abe’s for all your natural products and pick up some Yum Scrub Organics while you are there. 🙂  http://www.abesmarket.com/.  Also, in coming months check out their online magazine as we contribute to it with skincare articles.

DSC_0602_4_2Click to Buy Our Great All-Organic Skincare Line:

Yum Scrub http://bit.ly/1jKksLG

Abe’s Market bit.ly/1rueto2



Bird Poop – Urine – Snakes: Beauty Treatments??

28 Sep

Today for your beauty pleasure we have a smorgasbord of extreme beauty treatments.  For $180, you can get bird poop (guano) smeared on your face, for around $70.00 (plus travel expenses) you can have a massage with snakes, but the good news is the urine therapy–it’s free.  You use your own.

The Poop on a Geisha Facial
We know all you DIY’s are excited to run out and start collecting bird droppings to do your own bird poop facial.  However, this isn’t ordinary poop; the bird droppings in a Geisha Facial–the more exotic name–are special (of course).  It’s from Japanese nightingales.  The guano doesn’t come from just any ordinary nightingale either; it comes from the Japanese bush warbler.  The question is (among others) what makes nightingale poop more special than say, a sparrow or pigeon’s droppings?  Pigeons are certainly proliferating poopers.  But, in this case quality over quantity apparently prevails.  But then again, maybe nightingales are good guano makers.  You would think they would need to be for the worldwide demand of the “poop” facials….   Are there really researchers examining the benefits of bird poop and whose poop is more nutrient rich for the face?

Apparently this is not the case, as the research of the beneficial properties of nightingale excrement is more organic and very ancient.  The use of guano for the face has its roots in ancient times; the Koreans used it for removing dye from fabrics and introduced it to the Japanese.  The Japanese Geishas used it as a replacement for zinc and lead to whiten the face.  Just so you know the guano is sterilized and mixed with other ingredients.  One of the main components of nightingale excrement–urea–segues into the next extreme beauty practice–urine.

Pee U Therapy
Urea is the main chemical component of Urine.  Urine therapy has also been around for a very long time. Used on the face, it supposedly does a similar thing that bird guano does.  Users claim that it helps with acne, evens out facial tones, and moisturizes.  And…drum roll…it’s free.  As long as you don’t find yourself dehydrated out in the desert, you’ll have an ample supply.  Just in case you’re intrigued to try it, it’s suggested that mid-stream pee is best.  This is most likely to catch the more sterile part of it.  Urine is sterile until it reaches the urethra where it can pick up bacteria.  Also, it’s reportedly better to use the first pee of the morning.

We don’t want to further engage your gag reflex, but many people drink their pee for therapeutic benefits.  Proponents of urine therapy claim that urine is rich in beneficial nutrients.  Thank you, but I think I’ll stick to supplements and food.  So, the next time you run out of your face cream, toner, or whatever just catch some pee and apply….

Creepy Crawler Therapy 
Now that we have grossed you out, let’s see if we can give you the heebie-jeebies.  Snakes! Just imagine snakes crawling all over your body.  They’re slithering up and down your back, over the shoulder, up and down the legs…maybe around your neck and tickle your eyelashes.  How does this image feel to you?  Well, the Ada Barak Spa in Israel says it’s relaxing.  They use it as part of a massage therapy.  They use heavier snakes for deep tissue and lighter snakes for a more soothing…um-touch.  Just so you know, all the snakes are nonpoisonous.  Just wondering when an American entrepreneur will bring it to the states.  Can’t wait!!!

Now We Need a Beer 

Oh, sorry this beer is not for drinking.  It’s for a beer bath! Beer baths are apparently becoming a hit in European hotels. The claim is that it releases toxins through sweat…um…so does exercise. How many kegs do you think it takes to fill up a tub? How about adding beer to a hot tub and throw in some beer reveling friends, sounds like a typical college party not a spa treatment!   


Yum Friday Recipe – Grilled Peaches with Candied Hot Peppers

2 Sep

It’s Labor Day Weekend and the traditional end of summer.  We’re celebrating the end of summer like you do a good meal–with a wonderful dessert–grilled peaches with candied hot peppers.

Peaches and hot peppers are paired together in what may seem like an unlikely match.  However, the tangy juiciness of the peaches combine with spicy sweetness of hot peppers into a taste bud explosion.

We normally stay way from using refined sugar in our food recipes (we love it as an exfoliator, though) because it’s not very skin friendly or gut friendly for that matter.  But, the amount of candied hot peppers on each peach is very small, and will have negligible effect on the skin.  And sometimes we just need to step out and have a little fun, like eating something sweet once in awhile.

So, now that we have the disclaimer out of the way.  Let’s talk peaches and peppers.  Peaches are about to wrap up their show until next year, so go to the farmer’s market this weekend and grab some.  Peaches are high in the antioxidants vitamin A and C; antioxidants love to scavenge the body for the free radicals that like to wreck havoc in our body.  Peaches also have vitamin K.  Vitamin K is really good for those dark circles and bags under the eyes and helps with wound healing.  They also have skin loving nutrient E and some of the B’s.  Peaches even have drops of protein and iron.

Maybe you can’t get past the fieriness of hot pepper to think about whether they have any beneficial nutrients.  It turns out hot peppers have a good bit of nutrients.  They are very high in Vitamin A and have vitamin C along with several other vitamins and minerals.  What they are well known for though is capsaicin.  The capsaicin is what gives the heat to peppers.  If you can stand the heat, eating hot pepper can give you many health benefits.  Capsaicin has been studied for the relief of nerve pain, arthritis, psoriasis, nasal and lung congestion, and to boost immunity–to name a few.  For the skin, capsaicin brings more blood flow to the skin, which helps in healing and cell regeneration.

Yum Grilled Peaches with Candied Peppers – serves 4 – 6 

Prepare  Peppers
Preheat oven to 190 degrees
5-6 spicy peppers of your choice.  (since our CSA had Holland chili peppers, we used those)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
10-12 wooden skewer

In a saucepan combine the sugar and water.  Heat until the sugar is fully melted without boiling the water.   In the meantime slice the peppers in half lengthwise.   Remove all seeds and pulp.  You can keep the stems on for decoration if you would like.  Add the cut peppers to the water/sugar mixture and simmer for 20 minutes.   Strain the peppers from the water.  You can keep the sugar water to add a kick to some fresh lemonade or limeade! Wrap each pepper around a skewer, forming a spiral.  You can also bake the peppers flat on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.  Bake for one hour.

3 ripe peaches
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg (freshly grated)

Note: I whipped the sauce with a food and cream  gourmet whipper.  With a whipper, you can whip and make foams out of many ingredients besides cream.  I love mine and use it all the time.  If you don’t have one though, that’s cool.   Just spoon the sauce on the plate before adding the peaches; it still makes a beautiful presentation.

In a saucepan combine the almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and nutmeg.   Simmer for 10 minutes, making sure to never let it come to a boil then remove from heat.  Chill in the fridge till ready to serve.  If using a whipper, add the sauce to the canister and then refrigerate.

Cut the peaches in half going around the seed.  Remove the seed.   Heat the grill or a grill pan to medium or medium high.  Spray the grill with cooking spray and grill the peaches cut side down.  Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.  Grill until nicely browned (about 4 min.).  Plate the sauce, add the peaches, and garnish with the chili peppers.


Recipe created by Lisa Mackenzie Karson

The Essential – Essential Oils

22 Aug

If you are looking to include more organic/natural solutions for personal and home use, we suggest stocking your cabinet with a few basic essential oils. Lavender, tea tree, and peppermint essential oils are good ones to begin using.

If you’ve ever sniffed an essential oil, you know what a strong scent they have.  This scent is a result of the naturally occurring chemical compounds that are in a more condensed form than you get from the plant or herb.  These same chemical compounds are also what make essential oils effective for personal and home use.  Actually many man-made medicines get their start with botanicals.

Aspirin came about because of willow bark.  Willow bark had been used since ancient times in many cultures for pain and fever.  In more recent history, Tamoxifen used to treat breast cancer is a result of the Pacific Yew tree.  And Israeli doctors are investigating cinnamon as a prevention and cure for Alzheimer’s, and hospitals in France and Israel are investigating the use of cinnamon oil to fight hard to kill bacteria.  Lavender sprayed in Alzheimer ‘s units has shown to calm patients.  And a combination of essential oils showed promising results for hair loss. 

Our suggestions for the use of essential oils will not cure cancer or Alzehimer’s, but may help with some typical personal and household problems.

Buy true lavender; the biological name is “lavandula angustifolia.”  Spike lavender though related is not the same and Lavandin is a cross between true lavender and spike lavender.  Lavender is a very gentle oil in that it can often be applied neat (undiluted) on the skin and most people have not trouble with lavender.  Be prudent in the amount of essential oils you use because too much can cause a headache or be a stimulant when you want to relax.

  • Uses
    • Burns/Sunburns.  Burn yourself taking a pot off the stove or something out of the oven, reach for the lavender.  Modern aromatherapy got its start from lavender and a burn.  French chemist/perfumer Rene-Maurice Gattefosse applied lavender after a severe burn, and as the saing goes, “the rest is history.” For small and less severe burns apply neat (undiluted).  For larger areas, dilute with a cup of water in a spray bottle and spray.
    • Sleep/Insomnia.  Lavender has relaxing and sedative properties that make it a great aid for sleep problems.  There are several ways to use it for sleep. 
      • Add a few drops to a warm bath.  Because a bath can also stimulate, take your bath an hour or so before going to bed.
      • Apply two drops to a small cloth and put between your pillow and pillowcase.  The scent will be there all night.  This is especially good if you wake during the night and can’t go back to sleep.  Do not use too much or you will be restless instead.
      • Make a spritzer with lavender oil and water and spray in your bedroom before going to bed.  To keep it fresh, don’t make more than a few days worth.
      • Inhaling lavender is calming and relaxing. 
    • PMS.  Lavender is known for relieving premenstrual symptoms.  Dilute a couple of drops in a carrier oil (almond, grapeseed, coconut, jojoba, olive, etc.) and rub on your stomach and lower back.
    • Insect bite and repellant.  For insect bites, apply neat and rub into the bite.  You may also combine it with the same amount of tea tree oil and apply.  To use as a repellant, apply neat to ankles, neck, and wrist.  You could also make a spray with 10-12 drops of lavender (again can combine with tea tree) with a cup of water.
    • Facial mister.  Do you sometimes feel your face needs a “wake me up” or feels dehydrated, and you can’t apply moisturizer?  Make a lavender face spray.  Use about 6 -7 drops of lavender in ½ cup of mineral water. Shake or mix.  Pour the spritzer in a one or two ounce spray bottle.  Whole Foods and Michael’s Craft store sale the bottles.  Store the remaining spray in the refrigerator. People with problem or oily skin can also use this.  Lavender is also good for acne, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, and other skin conditions.

The aboriginal people of Australia have been using tea tree for thousands of years.  While the name has tea in it, tea tree oil does not come from the tea plant.  Tea tree is one of the most effective essential oils because it has properties that fight against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.  As with almost all essential oils, you do not want to ingest tea tree essential oil.

  • Uses
    • Sore throat.  Add a drop of tea tree oil to ¼ cup water and gargle.  DO NOT SWALLOW.
    • Earache/Swimmer’s ear.  Warm to the touch 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil, almond oil, or sesame oil.  Add one drop of tea tree oil to the warmed oil.  Using a dropper or small spoon drop oil into the ear, keep ear tilted for a few minutes or place a cotton ball in the ear.  Repeat as necessary.  Seek medical attention for sever pain, bleeding, or pain accompanied with a fever.
    • Cold or Flu.  Inhale the vapors by placing 2 – 3 drops in hot water and placing a towel over your head.  Be careful not to burn yourself. Or add a drop or two to a warm water vaporizer.  You can also make a warm compress to place on the chest.  Take a couple drops of tea tree oil and mix in warm water.  Soak a small washcloth in the mixture; wring it out, and place on chest.
    • Mouthwash.  Dilute one drop of tea tree oil in ¼ cup water; gargle and swish.  DO NOT SWALLOW.
    • Dandruff.  Either add a few drops to your shampoo and/or conditioner.  You can also make a final rinse with a couple drops of tea tree in some water.  Be sure to gently massage into scalp.
    • Disinfectant.  Spray the air during flu and cold season with tea tree and distilled water to disinfect the air.  Don’t make more than you will use in a few days to keep it fresh.
    • Mold.  Use either directly depending on the size of the area or dilute with some water.

Peppermint essential oil is very strong smell and the smell lasts a long time.  So, use just a small amount.  Peppermint has also been around a long time; remnants of peppermint have been found in Egyptian tombs from 1000 B.C.E.  Don’t put peppermint oil directly on the skin.  

  • Uses
    • Bugs and Insects.   Peppermint essential oil works great on bugs.  A dilution of peppermint essential oil and water, or with a small amount of alcohol is will keep many of the creepy crawlers from invading your space.  In a 16 oz. spray bottle, drop about 6 drops of peppermint oil, add water and shake.  Spray around the outside perimeter of your house.  You can also spray around the inside perimeter.  Remember since the scent is strong and long lasting do one level at a time, beginning with the basement. 
    • Migraine Headaches.  Combine 3- 4 drops peppermint and 1 drop of lavender essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil (almond, jojoba, grapeseed, olive oil, etc.) and rub into temples. Make ahead so it’s ready when you need it. Repeat as necessary.
    • Achy Tired Feet.  At the end of an exhausting and perhaps your day isn’t finished, this is a great pick-me-up that sends some special love to your overworked feet.   Fill a tub or basin some very warm water to – just enough to cover the feet; add two – three drops of peppermint oil.  You can also add a couple drops of lavender to the mix.  Soak the feet, or to make them really feel good, get a stiff body brush and brush the soles and around the toes.  Soak for a few more minutes.  You may want to rinse the feet in cool water at the very end.
    • Bad Breath.  Add a drop of peppermint oil to ¼ cup water.  Rinse and gargle.  DO NOT SWALLOW.
    • Nausea/Indigestion.  Just a whiff of peppermint oil helps to settle a stomach. You can also place a drop in a tablespoon of wild honey to settle indigestion or upset stomach.

This is just a start to the uses for the essential oils listed above, and there are hundreds of essential oils that offer benefits other than for perfume or scent.  Just remember essential oils are very potent so a little goes along way.

This information is for entertaining purposes only and not for diagnosing or treatment of any conditions.

“Aromatherapy,” Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, A Teaching Hospital of Harvard Medical Center. Online: http://www.bidmc.org/YourHealth/ConditionsAZ.aspx?ChunkID=37427 .  Retrieved 19 August 2011.

Lawless, Julie, “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oil.”  Rockport, MA. Element Books. 1997.

Yum Friday Recipe: Jicama & Canary Melon Salsa

22 Jul

The sweet juiciness of canary melon and the crunch of jicama don’t just make a perfect duo to dance on your taste buds; they benefit your skin (and body) as well.  Before we get to the benefits of the melon, a bit of trivia, canary melons are named “canary” because of their color and not because they come from the Canary Islands–they are yellow, oval, and taste similar to a cantaloupe, but much sweeter.

Canary Melons are extremely high in Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin A (beta-carotene).  Another bit of trivia: Did you know that humans are one of the few mammals that can’t make Vitamin C in the body? We’re up there hanging along with bats in this. We lack the enzyme and hence our need for foods that contain Vitamin C.

Vitamin C synthesizes collagen in the body.  Collagen is a protein that rebuilds and repairs the skin and gives it its elasticity.  Vitamin C along with vitamin A also fight free radicals. Free radicals cause wrinkles and contribute to dry skin.  Vitamin C also can help with skin damage from the sun.  As a side note: Dr. Andrew Weil recommends increasing Vitamin C intake before surgery, during (if the doctor will go along with it), and after surgery to heal surgical wounds.  Vitamin A also helps to rebuild and repair skin tissue.

Jicama (pronounced hic-ama) is crispy like an apple, but without the tart and juicy component; it’s more starchy.  Jicama is a great source of fiber.  Fiber is needed in the diet to eliminate toxins and waste, which is very beneficial for the skin.  Jicama comes from Central America and resembles an overgrown turnip.  Jicama is usually eaten raw and makes a great addition to salad.  Jicama also contains Vitamin C and some of the B vitamins.

Jicama Canary Melon Salsa —Serves 4 – 6     

1/2 jicama, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 canary melon, seeded and cut into cubes
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (leave the seeds if you want a little more spice)

½ lime, juiced
8 -10 fresh basil leaves, julienne
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Preparing Jicama – Cut the jicama into quarters and use a peeler to remove the skin. Cut the jicama into matchsticks and then chop into cubes. 

In a large bowl, mix together the jicama, melon, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, olive oil, rice wine vinegar and salt.  If you have time, refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes.   Before serving, toss in basil–leave some basil for garnish.  
Serve as a salsa on grilled fish or chicken breast. It also makes a refreshing side dish.  


Bouchez, Colleen “Nutrients for Healthy Skin: Inside and Out.”  Online: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/skin-nutrition

Weil, Andrew MD, “Vitamin C for Surgery.” Online: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400331/Vitamin-C-for-Surgery.html

Recipe by: Lisa Mackenize Karson

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