THE HOLISTIC BEAUTY EXPERIENCE BY ANDREA ASHLEY
SUMMER 2017| ISSUE no 11
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IN THIS ISSUE
The EARTH Issue
This issue's inspiration is no other than the earth. With recipes and topics focused on grounding, reducing worry and the health issues associated with the earth element such as oral health and muscle care and tying it into the beautiful season of Indian Summer. We hope you enjoy.
Aromatherapy and Affirmations
Pomegranates and Oral Health
The answer could be to do more!
How worry and Anxiety affect our mind and body: Tips to reduce it for overall health
Nourishing Facial Massage Oil Recipe
Sore Muscle Bath Soak
Interview with Jessica Burman from Cocoon Apothecary
Grounding Body Oil Recipe
Cool Weather Skin Prep
Traditional Chinese Medicine tricks and tips to help our skin welcome a new season.
Sore Muscle Massage Recipe
Reduce worry by flexing your mental muscle
Sweets and Beats: Beetroot Face Mask Recipe
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"We are a holistic and positive lifestyle community that encourages natural healthy skin care, self care and most importantly, inspires self love."
- Andrea Ashley
By: Valery Brosseau
I knew a woman who was a geologist.
Her fingers were connected to the earth,
Searching for meaning, searching for roots,
Making sense of layers of dirt.
From her I learned to be grounded,
To grow roots of my own,
Deep and powerful,
To turn dirt into earth,
Layer by layer, to turn it into home.
To grow roots of my own and grow mighty,
Pushing away from the ground beneath me
Trusting it to hold my weight.
I learned to tie dreams to my wrists
Like kite strings,
And let their unsteady pull guide me upward,
Remembering to keep my feet on the ground.
To follow the easy breeze
That lifts me higher and higher
Remembering to keep my feet on the ground.
Toes digging into the earth, reaching for foundation,
Pulling me to a centre,
To a place of truth and strength
Where earth is heart.
That underneath the hardened exterior of our life,
Is simply dirt, earth.
And if we trust the ground beneath our feet,
We can make sense of the layers
And find our way home.
Perfect for spring time.
Essential oils used in meditation, mindfulness or with affirmations can be super powerful, taking your practices to the next level as you work in conjunction with powerful plant energy. Allowing the mind, body, and spirit to be unified with intention.
This issue is all about the EARTH and what better focus for our Aromatherapy and Affirmations than to work on being grounded and connecting to the earth, to the root.
Diffusing a mixture of Patchouli and Ginger to your liking.
I am grounded deep in the earth. I am able to let go of worry and stand in the present moment with strength and calmness.
Aromatherapy and Affirmations
Continue next page
Reduce worry by flexing your mental muscle
By Kristy Pisani, Mindful Movement Teacher and Practitioner
Have you heard of the Lizard Brain? According to the Global Body Image Movement, “The Lizard Brain is a tiny part of your brain called the Amygdala whose entire job involves making stuff up to keep us small and hidden. The Lizard Brain can get nasty, mean and negative; causing our worries to escalate. The Lizard Brain is responsible for inventing horrible thoughts and worry to stop us from playing big in the world. The Lizard Brain thinks it could be dangerous if we worried less because not worrying is the exact opposite of staying small and hidden. Some common Lizard Brain worries are that we’re not smart enough, we’re not thin enough, were not good looking enough, were not popular enough were not qualified enough, we’re not wealthy enough etc.”
So, how can we build up our mental muscle and reduce worry?
The first thing that I suggest involves the practice of Mindfulness. Mindfulness in a nutshell means, “paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment as non-judgmentally as possible.” Just being aware that you are worried in any given moment without liking, disliking, understanding or judging is one step forward in the right direction in reducing worry. To be able to pause and take a moment to identify what your Lizard Brain is telling you the most, will help build your mental muscle. We become more aware of triggers and we can develop ways to respond when worrying takes place. Maybe paying attention to our breathing, bodily sensation, or even a simple exercise like squeezing fists. Anything that will draw you back to the present moment when the mind wonders.
Once you identify the most popular worry and instead of letting it repeat over and over in your head, try placing a few words in front of it. For example, sometimes I worry that others won’t like me just the way I am. So, by adding a few words to my worry I would rephrase it to, “My mind is having the thought that others won’t like me just the way I am.” This helps to disconnect from worry so that we are no longer fused with it.
The last thing I would suggest is to constantly remind yourself that you are not your Lizard Brain. Your worries don’t define who you are and what you have to offer the world. Once you get better at practicing Mindfulness you can even create a Mantra for when you notice negative worries taken place. It could be along the lines of “I am not my Lizard Brain, I am not my Lizard Brain, I am not my Lizard Brain.” Practice patience, acceptance, friendliness to the self and loving kindness. As stated in the Article entitled “Friendliness to the Self,” Josho Pat Phelan states that “loving-kindness or friendliness is practiced by cultivating the warmth and open- heartedness that is evoked by such phrases as, “May I be happy and joyous. May I be free from suffering, free from worry and anxiety. May I be healthy and enjoy a sense of well-being. May I dwell in peace.” The practice is to radiate friendliness to ourselves, to pervade ourselves with loving-kindness. This is done so that we will have first-hand experience of lovingkindness and then be able to take ourselves as an example when we extend loving-kindness to others.”
As Tara Brach also states, “the boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom.” Worrying can take place every minute of the day but don’t lose hope. Take small baby steps one moment at a time. As I previously stated we may not be able to ever get rid of worry but we can do the best that we can to try and quiet our minds and redirect our thoughts.
Make peace with your Lizard Brain, befriend it. Accept that it is there and that it’s not who you truly are. There is no perfecting only process.
Worrying……we all do it. Some more than others, but for the most part we all are part of the worrisome spectrum. We worry about a past event, circumstance and/or situation and we worry about what’s inevitably to take place next (the unknown). Worrying is a part of life and I don’t think it is something that will ever fully go away. However, I truly believe that we can work towards creating a healthy relationship with worry and maybe even reduce the amount of time and energy spent worrying.
Reduce worry by flexing your mental muscle cont'd
Sweets & Beets
D.I.Y FACIAL MASK
Beets are high in iron, vitamins and minerals and work wonders on the skin. Applying beets to the skin have been known to help clear acneic skin, soothe skin and combat dry skin- so this is a perfect addition to your fall face masks as the weather begins to change. While honey is a humectant so it will also help draw the moisture into the skin. Whereas, Coconut water contains lauric acid which can help soothe infections and acne as it fights against bacteria.
Beet Root Powder
Weigh out 2g of kaolin clay
Weigh out 1g beetroot powder
Mix dry ingredients together
Add 2.6g of coconut water
Add 1.22g honey
Mix together thoroughly until a smooth paste forms
Apply a layer to the skin, leave for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water to remove, pat dry.
Finish with a Nourishing Face Oil Treatment.
Pour a small amount of oil into your palms
Apply evenly to entire neck and face in gentle upward motion
Cheeks: Move from the jawline up the cheeks in upward circular motions. 5x
Place index and middle finger under cheek bones, lifting fleshy part of the cheeks. Hold for 5 seconds. Continue along the cheek bone towards hairline in the same manner. 5x
Lips area: From the centre of the lips work outwards toward your lip corners, slightly lifting the corners each time. 5 x
Below eye area/above cheek bones: (avoid eyes and keep product away from eyes), move from the inside outward in gentle fluid motions. 5x Forehead: Move from the centre of the forehead in outward circular motions. 5x
Nourishing Facial Massage Oil
Chia Seed Oil
Helichrysum Essential Oil (10% dilution)
Pour 8ml jojoba oil in a small glass bowl.
Add 6ml chia seed oil and mix.
Add .05ml helichrysum essential oil and mix thoroughly.
Pour mixture into a 15ml glass pump bottle..
Perform facial massage once a week
Face Massage is an awesome tool for to add to your healthy skin tool box.
Performing Facial massage is not only an amazing form of self care but the action itself helps stimulate blood vessels and improve circulation - both great for creating a beautiful healthy complexion. To begin a facial massage routine it is best to make a natural massage oil that best suits your skin care needs. You can start with a simple recipe like this and then add or replace alternative carrier oils and essential oils as you desire.
Cool Weather Skin Prep
Holistic Beauty tips using Traditional Chinese Medicine to keep the skin healthy in Fall and Winter
As the long days of Spring and Summer are coming to an end it is time to think about how we can prepare our skin for the cold seasons of Fall and Winter ahead. First and foremost, beautiful skin comes from the inside out. What may work in the summer time may not be beneficial to the skin in the Winter.
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses the same natural remedies and techniques that have worked for thousands of years. In fact dermatology is an actual specialty of TCM practitioners. Rather than simply applying a treatment to the skin, the TCM approach is to address the internal problem, allowing the skin on the outside to then heal itself.
TCM sees the body as a whole system of interrelated parts. In TCM all disorders, including dry or winter skin, which on the surface may seem to be caused by external forces - actually have their root causes in internal imbalances between Qi, blood flow, yin, yang, and blockages of energy pathways within the body.
Beauty and health are synonymous in the TCM system. To treat dry skin the TCM Practitioner would seek to strengthen one's immune system and to decrease the body's sensitivity to the cold and other negative environmental energies like dryness. It is also important to balance the internal organ systems using herbal medicines and acupuncture to restore internal imbalances and remove blockages of Qi that are contributing to or causing the dry or itchy skin.
Now is the time to change the way you eat and care for your body. What worked for you in the days of spring and summer will be quite different for the Fall and Winter time. Fall and winter are notorious for drying us out, requiring us to use products and consume food that create moisture and energy.
Dry winter air removes the moisture from your skin. So does the long hot baths and showers we take during that time to warm us up. Put those together and it seems like everyone is walking along with dry itchy skin. It is important to hydrate skin from the inside out. Watch out for any caffeinated beverages and other forms of caffeine. In Chinese dietary therapy it will actually drain the energy of the kidney and deplete the yin of the body making you actually drier. Make sure you are drinking at least 64 oz of water a day. I recommend teas, broths and warm water to balance the coldness of the season. When you are finished with your bath or shower use a good lotion or oil from the bottom of this article to lock in moisture into the skin.
In Chinese dietary therapy, health stems from balancing one’s internal environment with the external environment. With diet, it becomes important to eat appropriately for the time of year
and seasonally. Select foods associated with the time of year they are harvested, as well as eating warming foods in the fall and winter. Winter is a very yin time of year and the body needs to adjust. Soups, stews, root vegetables, baked apples and pears and cooked foods are what the body needs to maintain moisture and boost the digestive energy and kidney energy in the body. If possible, depending on your diet, try and incorporate marrow into your soups and stews by adding organic free range bones into the broth. Marrow is the root of blood and yin in Chinese Medicine and keeps the body healthy and strong during the winter season.
Winter is a time when the body consolidates its energy and regenerates itself so ensure getting enough sleep. In fact, the longer nighttime hours are nature’s way of turning our bodies inward to regenerate and rejuvenate for the spring months to come. Try and get an extra hour of sleep each night and get to bed no later than 11pm when the body’s natural regenerative properties are at their highest. By harnessing the transformative and consolidating energy of fall and winter, you can emerge more beautiful and radiant for spring and summer to come.
Organic Food may have higher nutritional value and life force. Conversely, junk food and processed foods are void of nutritional value and have potential cause for inflammation. These are foods we can load up on in wintertime:
Green leafy veggie that engender yin energy like kale, spinach, collards and chard
Food that contain anti oxidants and anti inflammatory agents like quercetin like broccoli, cranberries s and apples.
Fish ( salmon and mercury free tuna)which is high in Omega 3 fatty acids. This reduces inflammation and moistures skin from the inside out.
Probiotics keep digestive energy balanced and actually help boost the immune system.
Antioxidant foods which help skin recover from oxidative stress: Red and black currents, raspberries, blueberries, pomegranates, sesame seeds and goji berries. Grapes contain resveratrol a super anti oxidant. These foods are also blood tonics in Chinese medicine which help boost the health of the skin. Goji berries or Wolfberry is an herb that has long been used in Chinese medicine for treatment of dry skin. To TCM practitioners, Goji berries nourish and restore the liver, kidneys and blood. Goji berries contains powerful anti-oxidants including vitamin C, linoleic acid, thiamine, beta-carotene, and riboflavin.
Spinach and Kale are anti oxidant that contain Lutein.
Yellow and orange root vegetables like carrots sweet potatoes pumpkins and squash are great sources of beta carotene. These build blood and tonify the energy of the digestive system.
Keep the “rainbow diet “in mind. All these fruits and veggies are well documented for their high anti oxidant value. High amount of phytochemicals from the families of carotenoids (beta carotene and lycopene), polyphenols, querceetin and catechins, as well as resveratrol and anthocyanidins. All of these have documented healing properties and are key in anti aging, regenerative, and protective skin care.
Supplements such as borage, resveratrol, biotin, fish oil multi vitamins, and alpha lipoic acid. If you see a practictioner of TCM, they can prescribe you an appropriate herbal formula to help you transition through the fall and winter months.
Rest and rejuvenation. It is Hard to get out in the cold, it is fine to exercise at home. Find a good yoga, qi gong, tai chi or meditation Cd to practice at home to revitalize and rejuvenate the body. Don’t forget to practice good sleep hygiene and get more sleep during the winter months.
Reduce the intake of alcohol and caffeine not to drain jing or essence of the kidneys which is TCM anti aging concept. Stay hydrated to support the kidney system, the system of wintertime.
Moxa. Or moxibustion is a form of heat therapy used in Chinese Medicine for over thousands of years. Moxa is the herb artemesia vulgaris which dried and rolled into sticks that resemble a cigar. Moxa is used for the strengthening of blood ,chi and digestion. Moxa is lit and used to heat points all along the body. This is a great treatment that can be done under the care of a good TCM practitioner.
By: Dr.Elizabeth Trattner
Did you know that for every jar of Selfish Nourishing Beauty Balm you purchase, one is donated to Interim Place (an organization that provides shelter, support, counselling and advocacy to help women and their children break the cycle of violence. Interim Place helps them find safety, heal and build new lives free of abuse.)
This skincare is about inspiration, connection and giving.
Supporting women is everything. We are all the same. We are all looking for love and acceptance, just as we are, exactly where we are.
We are here to remind you that only you can give yourself all of that and reflect that in others.
We are here to support that journey, with an organization like Interim Place, with a beautiful product and a hint of inspiration, lives can be changed, paths can be found, and purpose can be recognized.
by: Valéry Brosseau
Think back to the last time you were truly nervous about something. Place yourself in that position and try to remember how you felt. Do you remember how tight your chest felt? Or perhaps you had trouble breathing? Did you feel flushed, maybe you were even sweating? We often think of the mental effects of worry and anxiety, but it is no secret that they also have great physical effects. Because worry is a cognitive process, it is easy to think of it in terms of our minds, but we most likely all have examples of feeling its physical consequences. In psychological terms, anxiety is the emotion resulting from worry; it is worry taken to the next level.
Worry and anxiety are a reaction to stress and have both psychological and physical symptoms. Anxiety is thought to being in the part of the brain called the amygdala, the region that manages intense emotional responses. This physiological response prepares us to face a perceived threat. Neurotransmitters in the brain communicate with the sympathetic nervous system and cause heart and breathing rates to increase, muscles to tense and blood flow to be diverted to the brain. It puts the body in alert mode. If we feel anxious too often or for long periods of time, our body never receives the signal to return to normal, we are always on alert, prepared for the “fight” part of “fight or flight”.
This physical reaction can affect various systems within our bodies. Our immune system can be weakened by the physical consequences of worry and anxiety as a result of being under constant pressure. The digestive system can also suffer. According to Harvard Medical School there may be a connection between anxiety disorders and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Similar results were found by a 2007 study carried out in New Zealand, where, in patients suffering from gastroenteritis, an association was found between high anxiety levels and the development of bowel infections. The respiratory system can also fall prey to the effects of worry and anxiety. Studies have found that in patients suffering from chronic respiratory problems, anxiety rates are generally higher. Lastly, anxiety and worry have also been linked to the development of heart disease and coronary events in people who already have heart conditions. A Harvard Medical School study suggested that among people with preexisting heart conditions, those suffering from an anxiety disorder were twice as likely to have a heart attack.
The Health Affects of Worry and Anxiety
(And How We Can Fight It Naturally)
These are some of the serious physical consequences of anxiety and worry and some of the systems in our bodies that can suffer. In more general terms, worry can cause more benign symptoms, though just as important to try to avoid. Worry can cause headaches or even migraines, as well as muscle tension and pain, chest pain, fatigue and sleep problems. I am sure most of you can agree that despite the fact that not everyone suffers from an anxiety disorder or clinical anxiety, we can all have worry trouble and cloud our minds. Thankfully, there are actions we can take to reduce its effect on both our minds and bodies.
1) Physical activity: It has been shown by various studies that physical activity is key to our mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, there are several reasons exercise could be good for our brains, both biochemical and psychological. Biologically speaking, based on current research, there is a connection between exercise and the release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Because of this, exercise has been shown to alleviate anxiety, as the blood circulation caused by physical activity affects functions of the brain in the areas related to mood, motivation, fear and stress.
2) Mindfulness and being present in the moment: Practicing mindfulness can help us live in the moment and refocus our brains. Anxiety and worry stem from worrying about the future and reflecting negatively on the past. These are concepts that are not easily dealt with; the past cannot be changed and the future is not yet here. Practicing mindfulness, however, can help us avoid this by focusing on the present moment.
3) Social support and connection: Feeling connected and finding time in our lives for the people we care about can be extremely important in managing anxiety and worry. Social connection can strengthen us emotionally and mentally, better preparing us to deal with the stresses of our lives and finding support in those we love can help us manage problems and obstacles.
4) Changing “What If” worries to “How Can I” thoughts: Many worries stem from “What If” thoughts. We worry about what possible scenarios, wondering what will happen and fearing the outcome. By changing this pattern, we can reduce our worries. For example, by thinking “What If I fail my midterm?” we cause ourselves undue stress as we mull over the worst case scenario. By changing this thought to “How can I ensure I do well on my midterm?” we empower ourselves to control the situation and work towards the outcome we want.
5) Problem solving: Worries are often based on the problems we face in our lives and the fear of the negative outcomes they bring with them. By focusing our thoughts on problem solving and finding ways to overcome these obstacles, once again, we put the power back into our own hands and can alleviate our anxiety by finding a way to control the outcome.
Remember the incident you chose when you answered our questions at the beginning of this article? As you had previously experienced and as we learned above, worry and anxiety have far reaching physical effects. How did you calm yourself in that situation? Again, we learned there are ways to manage and mitigate our anxiety and hopefully now you have more tools at your disposal for dealing with the worries in your life. Worry thoughts can affect so many bodily systems but it is entirely in our power to fight these effects and to keep ourselves healthier, both physically and mentally
Arnica is said to soothe muscle aches, spasms, pulled muscles or rheumatic pain.
Lavender is great for bruises, muscle strain and pain.
Camphor essential oil is great for muscle pain.
Chamomile essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that are great for joints.
Ginger is great for strains.
Lavender Essential Oil
Camphor Essential Oil
Chamomile Essential Oil
Ginger Essential Oil
Pour 2 cup epsom salts into bowl
In a seperate bowl pour 5ml arnica carrier oil
Add 8 drops of Lavender essential oil to the oil, mix thoroughly
Add 8 drops of camphor essential oil to the oil, mix thoroughly
Add 8 drops chamomile essential oil, mix thoroughly
Add 2 drops of ginger essential oil, mix thoroughly
Add oil mixture into the salt mixture, mix thoroughly
Let sit for 10-15 minutes
Pour a warm, not hot temperature bath
Add in salt mixture and disperse well
Hop in an enjoy for 20 minutes
Sore Muscle Bath Soak
4 Drops Sweet Marjoram
4 Drops Lavender
4 Drops Vetiver Oil
30mls Fractionated coconut oil
In a small glass bowl mix all oils thoroughly.
Once mixed well, pour into a dark glass bottle.
Apply a small amount into palms and rub onto chest in the morning for an uplifting boost and in the evening for an overall calming/relaxing effect.
Store massage oil in a dark glass bottle & a dark, cool place
Soothing Sore Muscles
D.I.Y AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE OIL
As the months of summer slowly drifts away, memories of cottaging,days on the beach, dinners, family visits and now a new season on our heels, a common word is often used during this time- "Overwhelmed"
- enter your catch phrase here......
We have all been in the overwhelmed spotlight at one time or another (or even daily) Its a feeling that is unmistakable... its outcome is a true choose your own adventure...
Over a year ago, I made a conscious choice not to welcome this feeling of being overwhelmed into life. (Its a tied event as we speak) Even better, when I felt it was creeping in, to sit with "Overwhelmed" and have a 1:1 convo on the 5 w's (who, what, where, why and when)
My findings were enlightening :)
During these conversation with "Overwhelmed" I found there was a clear miscommunication with myself around what was overwhelming me. Bills, expectations at work, friendships, dating etc, you name is, this was what the "what/who/why" were.
As I further Nancy Drew'd it, I found that one thing was missing in the equation- ME.
Yes... I was missing from my overwhelmed moments, it was all about something/someone else. I was the last in the circle of this "puff puff, pass pass"of life.
Often when we are overwhelmed, we have taken the "ME" out of the situation. In all honesty, that makes us "underwhelmed".
When we fill our lives with the dry, dead-end and meaningless stuff- both materialistically and socially/emotionally, we underwhelm our true purpose thus creating an off balance that leads to us to affirm with that which overwhelms us.
Disclaimer- I understand and experience those "have toos" in life- helping family, balancing a 120 hour work week and, those can’t get out of situations etc (as you reach through the screen and tell me to get out of my spiritual fairy tale of ZEN ZEN ZEN)
Ok back to our new friend- "underwhelmed" this mate comes along again when we fill our lives with things that don't inspire, empower, engage and light the fire of that person that you are. Sound familiar....
So how do we balance? It’s all about keeping, saving and ending.....
KEEPING: are the things in your life empowering you? Inspiring you? Does their purpose align with your purpose? In seeing them through ie helping that family member- will it create abundance for them (giving abundance gives more abundance in life)
Keeping means making a commitment to see the "ME" in the situation and standing aligned with your intention not to sell yourself short in the process of getting to the final goal. If so- it’s a KEEP.
SAVING: do the things in your life need to be done in this hot second? What if you gave them a breathing space of a day or a few weeks, would that give you new perspective/ tools that you don't have now. Saving aspects of your life for another breath or day honours them and you. This helps to fulfill their purpose as when we fight against "allowing" it’s always a crash and burn. I have practiced this with relationships and they have grown into such enlightened loves. Blessings!
ENDING: Have you come to a point where there is simply no finding "ME" or a moment that can allow you to breath purpose back in? Have you done the KEEPING, then moved to SAVING and now are staring at ENDING as we speak? There is NOTHING wrong with endings and placing aspects of your life on this line.
Society has taught us that this area of the line is wrong ie you didn't try hard enough and you are a failure. TRUTH is this is where "Overwhelmed" hangs out and is looking to have a couch buddy to watch "Life Stinks" on re-run. When we continue to place energy into ENDINGS, we get that- THE END with interest (stress, sleep issues and a whole lot of "bitches be doing")
If you can’t see "ME" in light, love or purpose- place this aspect to bed (THE END)
Summary Time: "ME" in each situation is natural and ok, as long as it comes from a place of love and purpose. It’s a balancing act these days to ensure you can fund ( not find) purpose in life and through the mundane aspects that we encounter daily. This isn't to say that it’s not impossible. Seek time for yourself, add in the things you enjoy or add a layer into your life that has a "ME" focus.
By: Katie Bushie, Holistic Life Coach
The answer could be to DO MORE.
According to Katie Bushie, Holistic life coach, former psychology counsellor and retreat facilitator, the answer to feeling overwhelmed is do a little more...for yourself that is.
Feeling overwhelmed, do more! continued
Interview with Jessica Burman, formulator of Cocoon Apothecary
I’m just a simple gal. NOT. I am a chaotic, artsy Pisces that needs to be doing something creative or I’m bored.
Being passionate about how I live my life is essential and joie de vivre is basically my religion. I have two daughters aged 9 and 6 and a husband of 17 years who runs Cocoon with me. I live for travelling and adventure and I am an avid plant and animal lover. I am constantly yearning for the ocean but am currently land locked in SW Ontario. I also love good food and wine, preferably a sparkling version.
Why did you decide to start Coccon Apothecary? What does it mean to you?
I created Cocoon Apothecary in 2003. It began as an obsession with essential oils, which I discovered for the first time at a health food store. I couldn’t understand why people settled for crappy synthetic versions of scents when you could smell the real thing. It baffled me. I felt it was my mission to share these natural, therapeutic scents with the world so I started crafted products around them. I began with mostly bath products – scrubs, salts, bath bombs and aromatherapy remedies such as balms and roll on oil blends but eventually moved to skin care, which was my ultimate calling. My skin had always been a top priority for me and after years of being a product junkie, it was easy to come up with formulas that women would respond to. Back in 2005, there weren’t many options for natural skin care and the ones that were around were earthy-smelling and greasy. I wanted to make it effortless for women to go from their favorite department store brand to a natural, non-toxic version with light floral or citrus scents. Cocoon Apothecary has helped so many people transform their skin from being constantly inflamed, dehydrated, and congested into healthy and flawless. It means everything to me that I can help people at this level.
Tell us more- what exactly is Cocoon Apothecary, what can we expect and why would we benefit from using it?
Cocoon Apothecary is a natural, vegan, non-toxic line of skin care, bath, and men’s grooming products that are for people that are picky about textures, scent, and performance. The creamy formulas absorb quickly and keep skin hydrated all day. As someone with very sensitive skin, everything is made to be gentle and non-irritating taking great care with the ingredients we choose and the percentage of use. I am an aromatherapy graduate so safety is extremely important to me and is reflected in the formulas.
We are the makers of the products so everything is made small batch and is out the door and on your bathroom shelf within a month. Fresh is always best. We are also able to keep our prices accessible even though we use the most luxurious, certified organic ingredients because we don’t use a lab to manufacture and don’t need a distributor to sell.
What is your favorite skin care regimen or ritual and why?
I love facial massage. I spend about 5 minutes per day with Petal Purity Facial Cleanser or Sweet Orange Gel Cleanser rubbing my skin in circular motion to release any congestion that could potentially turn into a black head or pimple and it gets the circulation and lymphatic system moving. It helps my skin look and feel firm and revitalized.
What is your self care ritual? The things you do that make you feel the best?
I love baths. I make time for them every day in the cold months. It’s my time to close my eyes and chill. My favorite bath scents are lavender, geranium, or ylang ylang - some kind of relaxing flower. We’re getting a new bath tub with jacuzzi jets so I see myself spending most of the winter in it. If I’m really on top of my game, I will dry brush my skin and follow up with lotion after the bath.
What is your biggest self care struggle? (Past or present)
Having a family is very time and energy-consuming and it’s very easy to put everyone before me and not take the time to practice self-care. It’s something many women struggle with because, let’s face it, there’s a lot expected of us. We need to be good mothers, have a clean house, make money, be a good companion to our spouses, AND look good. Phew. I have learned to carve out time for me by going for a run everyday or making it to yoga class at least once per week. It’s something I must put effort into or I will fall into the habit of just taking care of everyone else. Also, if my body says ‘no’, I listen to it. I don’t believe in pushing myself when I’m clearly meant to rest or move slower.
Self love can be a tough topic to conquer- we want to know 5 things you love about yourself! And if you always loved those things or did it take time?
My skin and how it’s looking at age 43. It was a gamble using only my own products all these years and not truly knowing the long-term efficacy but it’s been a big win for me. Still firm and wrinkle-free. I had adult acne in my 20s so I didn’t always feel this way.
2. My intuition. It’s never wrong. I didn’t trust it when I was younger and made lots of mistakes. Now I don’t doubt it and it comes in handy running a business.
3. My connection to nature. I draw so much energy from being outside and I know that I always have the sanctuary of a forest to escape to. People can come in and out of your life and situations change but nature is a constant. It’s a comforting thought.
4. The life I’ve built. Sometimes I take it for granted but everything that I envisioned for my life has come true. A happy family life, friends, vacations, and a successful business.
5. My chill factor. I have learned over the years to not get overly excited or stressed because situations ebb and flow and things that might seem like a disaster one day will be solved the next. There is no reason to freak out about anything. Surrender is the key.
There are several natural skin care professionals out there that feel skin care should be individualized since our needs are all so different that they cannot always be limited to a particular skin type. What are your thoughts on this?
I think that is an amazing idea but would be difficult to pull off at the level we are at. We try to create a customized experience on our website where people can shop by skin care concern. I think we have something for everyone and a routine that would suit the most difficult skin. When we create products, we try to make them ‘crowd-pleasers’ using essential oils that most people enjoy and ingredients that will soothe skin while serving their purpose to moisturize or clean. I think skin varies but not at the level where each individual needs something different but I can see the appeal in having a routine created based on preferences. Everyone enjoys different scents and textures. If a business could figure out a way to scale this, it would be great especially when you look at the success of Bite Beauty labs.
Need to know, what is your favorite essential oil and why?
For functionality, I love lavender. It does everything for the skin. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, put lavender on it! An all-purpose healer and soother. For scent, I love jasmine. It is so complex and ethereal. An animalistic base with a feminine floral note. There’s something about those night bloomers and their sensual, exotic aromas.
At Andrea Ashley we want to inspire healthy, holistic skin care, self care and self love- what are your skin care, self care and self love goals right now?
For skin care, I want to make more time for moisturizing my body. My face has always received all the love and the rest of my skin gets neglected. Now that I’m getting older, the need for maintaining elasticity everywhere is important. I have started to go for a jog every evening with my dog which is important for maintaining my cardiovascular strength. Things change after 40, it’s surprising. You can’t just sit around or you’ll go stiff like the tin man. I want to be fit enough to do anything I want - hiking, snowboarding, or surfing.
The Hive Trail
Any words of wisdom, healthy vibes or tips you
would like to share with our readers?
I think the most important thing for maintaining health is managing stress. If that’s not in order, you can basically see the wrinkles forming. It’s how disease develops. Most of us have ditched religion and didn’t replace it with anything so we have zero spirituality, which often teaches important things such as surrender and prayer/meditation. I honestly feel like we’ve had to rely on pharmaceuticals to fill this void rather than drawing on our inner strength to heal and become balanced. We’re part of a movement to change this and it can’t come soon enough.
Pomegranates & Oral Health
Pomegranates are proving indeed that they are a powerhouse for your whole body. Recent studies have demonstrated that Poms are excellent for health of the gingival and reduce plaque and other bacteria from forming in the mouth.
In the publication, Phytother Res. 2009 Aug;23(8):1123-7., Pomegranate extract mouth rinsing effects on saliva measures relevant to gingivitis risk. A study was conducted at the Ohio State University that Pomegranate components have properties that could promote oral health, including reducing the risk of gingivitis. The study showed for the effects of 4 weeks of thrice daily mouth rinsing with the pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) extract PomElla dissolved in water. This treatment changed salivary measures relevant to oral health including gingivitis.
The changes were: reduced total protein (which can correlate with plaque forming bacteria readings), reduced activities of aspartate aminotransferase (an indicator of cell injury), reduced alpha-glucosidase activity (a sucrose degrading enzyme), increased activities of the antioxidant enzyme ceruloplasmin (which could give better protection against oral oxidant stress) and increased radical scavenging capacity (though this increase was significant only by nonparametric statistical analysis). A placebo of cornstarch in water did not affect these measures. These data raise the possibility of using pomegranate extracts in oral health products such as toothpaste and mouthwashes.
In the Journal,Quintessence Int. 2011 Jan;42(1):29-36. The anti-plaque efficacy of pomegranate mouth rinse evaluated the effect of a pomegranate-containing mouth rinse on plaque, determine whether it has any adverse effects, and evaluate its antibacterial properties against selected periodonto pathogens in vitro.
Pomegranate extract was tested against Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (A.a.), Porphyromonas gingivalis (P.g.), and Prevotella intermedia (P.i.).
The pomegranate mouth rinse created no adverse effects. There was a statistically significant difference (P < .05) between the chlorhexidine (an ingredient used in many mouthwashes) and placebo rinse and the pomegranate and placebo rinse, but no statistically significant difference was found between the chlorhexidine and pomegranate rinse with respect to the PI. Pomegranate extract showed inhibition of all three strains of periodontopathogens at various concentrations.
These results indicate that the pomegranate mouth rinse has an anti-plaque effect. Pomegranate extract is efficacious against certain mouth bacteria that can cause against plaque.
Bergamot Essential Oil
Myrrh Essential Oil
Patchouli Essential Oil
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Pour 50g of FCO in a glass bowl
Add 0.40g of Bergamot essential oil
Add 0.25g Patchouli
Add 0.10g Myrrh essential oil
Pour in dark, glass bottle
Apply to body as desired
Grounding Body Oil
*Always try a patch test when using new products or ingredients. Discontinue if irritation occurs.
Patchouli Essential Oil has a grounding and balancing effect helpful for the nervous system. Also great for dry, rough and cracked skin.
Myrrh Essential Oil Calming, grounding and meditative.
Bergamot Essential Oil is soothing, great for stress, frazzled nerves and is a general relaxant.
Factionated Coconut oil is a stable oil that will help extend the shelf life of your specialty carriers, rosehip and cranberry. Skin friendly, absorbs well.
Essential oils are a great tool to have but do you know how to decipher which ones are actually good for you and your specific needs?
What you will achieve with this consult:
You will learn what specific oils you should be working with.
You will learn to make your own blends with easy recipes included in your consultation.
Understand why you are using each oil and what they are specifically doing for you.
Learn how to use the oils in safe method of application for your specific needs (proper dilutions, frequency, etc).
Stay grounded, calm and connected with the earth