Earth Day: The Roses and the Bees

Earth Day: The Roses and the Bees

It’s Earth Day today. And it is an important day, because while the “Hallmark Holiday” nay-sayers might call it a fake holiday, and the cliche-ers might say things like “every day should be Earth Day,” we have to face the reality that in our modern, mass produced, tech-driven society, every day is pretty much the opposite of Earth Day. While I’ve written about Earth Day, and other issues concerning sustainability and the health of our planet, my vibe today is a bit different.

This year’s Earth Day falls during Passover and following Easter. It’s a month past the Vernal Equinox, and a time in many other spiritual and cultural traditions that symbolize freedom, new beginnings, and rebirth. It’s also just over a week following the fire that destroyed much of La Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris.

While you might not think about that as significant information for an article about Earth Day since it is a manmade building in the middle of a manmade city, its burning during this time in history was also seen as many as symbolic of rebirth and new beginnings. A symbol of a paradigm shift from a masculine dominated society to a Divine Feminine one.

Bee on dandelionWhat really grounded that idea for me was not only that the iconic famed rose windows were saved (Rose is one of the most powerful and universal images of the Divine Feminine–but Rose’s energies are also balanced with the Divine Masculine because of its thorns), and the bees who lived in hives on the roof (set there as a Paris initiative to protect the declining bee population) survived.

To learn more about Divine Feminine archetypes and their relation to beauty and skincare, take the free Beauty Archetype Quiz HERE.

Let’s talk about those bees.

The honeybee is another longstanding universal symbol of the Divine Feminine. It’s not just the fact that they are governed by a Queen, or that the workers are female–it’s that everyone knows their role, and fulfills it in collaboration every day, for the greater good of the whole–of the hive–of Mother Earth. While all that they do may appear to be in service to the Queen, the Queen herself is a busy bee, constantly feeding and nourishing all the larvae to ensure the future of the hive. It is a cooperative, collaborative, intuitive society that exists to nourish the greater whole beyond the single hive. Without the bees, just about every other species of life on the planet would suffer, because their efforts ensure food at nearly every stage of the food chain on this planet. It is true that if bees go extinct, humans will too. Protecting them needs to be a top priority.

I have a complex history with bees because I used to be deathly afraid of them.

It started when I was a child. I was at my dad’s house and we were running back and forth from the kitchen to the back patio bring food outside for a barbecue. The sliding glass doors must have been open for quite awhile, because when I opened a cabinet to get plates, three or four bees flew out of the cabinet right at my face. I didn’t get stung, but holy cow was I freaked out. For years after (and probably still now, to be honest), whenever I’d get a buzzing sound near my face, I’d flinch, sometimes to the point that I’d give myself a neck spasm!

Carpenter beeWe have carpenter bees in our yard. They are extremely aggressive, torpedoing right at me, buzzing loudly while I’m gardening. These are the males–they won’t sting or bite but they will pelt you right in the face–in order to protect the females, which are busily nesting in my deck. I do not like those bees, but I also don’t want to kill them, because they are important community pollinators, and pollinators are declining.

I live in a very “Suburbia USA” type of neighborhood in the Philadelphia suburbs where most of the houses look the same, and most of the neighbors mow their lawns around the same time on the same day each week. The majority of my neighbors focus on getting green, weed-free lawns and use pesticides and synthetic fertilizers to achieve that. We don’t use those, and we also don’t mow often. That mostly started because my husband has really bad allergies and between both our schedules, we just don’t have the time. We certainly could hire someone to do that for us, but honestly, it’s just not a priority for us.

So our house kind of sticks out among our neighbors (much to their dismay, I’m sure), because it’s a little bit wild, with dandelions, violets, plantain, unruly raspberries and honeysuckles, mints, and lemon balms. Because of this, we also have a lot of bees. Tiny ones, regular honeybees, fuzzy and chubby bumblebees, and those big and shiny guardian carpenter bees. By being busy and, well, because of my husband’s allergies, we accidentally created a sanctuary of native plants in our yard for bees, butterflies, sometimes hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

I made the decision to take that further, and plant more native plant species in my yard to make it even more home for the pollinators.

Every year, I add more perennial native plants, in addition to my annual herbs and flowers. We also have a couple of stumps in our yard from trees that we sadly had to take down, that we are allowing Mother Earth to take back, rather than grinding them down. Our soil is mostly clay, but it is rich with fungi and other microbes, so it happened with the first stump way sooner than we thought, and is already happening with the one we had to take down last year due to storm damage.

This year, Earth Day is about the roses and the bees.

yellow rose

One of the roses from my unruly rose bush with an attitude.

Last fall, I planted bee balm, in addition to other native plants (Joe Pye weed, goldenrod, witch hazel, and elderberry to name a few). This year, I will add to that, starting today, with a new rose bush. My current rose bush is the bane of my husband’s existence because first of all, it houses some of those aggressive carpenter bees, and second, it laughs at his landscaping efforts. It grows so fast, and every time he trims it, the next day, it will sprout a new branch that shoots two feet up over the top of all the other ones. It makes me smile all the time.

You might wonder, aren’t I afraid of the bees in my own yard? I’ve never been stung in my own yard. Neither has anyone in my family. When my husband teases me about my knee-jerking, neck-spasming reaction to getting buzzed, I now tell him it’s fine. I have made peace with the bees and they are welcome on my property. I don’t love when they accidentally get in my house–don’t get me wrong–but if that happens, we gently help the lost bee get back outside rather than killing it.

Many Earth-based cultural and spiritual traditions view Mother Earth as a living, breathing deity that like most mothers, gives of herself without a thought to nourish and protect her babies. For millennia, humans lived cooperatively with Mother Earth and Her other inhabitants–taking what we needed, giving back what we took when we could. Modern life has changed that. The need for mass production, instant gratification, and convenience that a consumer-based society requires depletes Mother Earth’s resources, pollutes Her air, soil, and waters, takes without consideration for when and if more will be available, and thinks not of the wellbeing of other living beings that also depend on Mother Earth for survival. It ignores the importance of other beings that play an integral part of the food chain and food webs; as well as their roles in our planet’s air, water, and soil cycles.

The answer is not to find another planet to colonize once we’ve eventually destroyed this one.

The answer is to pick one thing to start with to heal the Mother we have. My one thing this year is more planting, in order to provide more food and more of a hospital backyard ecosystem for the bees and other pollinators.

Earth Day treesMother Earth still sacrifices for her children, though she is wounded and struggling.

And like the shift that happens in human life when the relationship of the parent caring for the child morphs into that of the adult child caring for the aging or sick parent, it is time for us–the children–to care for our Mother Earth.

For simple, every day things you can do in your life and in your business to give back and protect Mother Earth, check these out:

I also teach extensively about sustainable, Mother Earth-friendly ingredients, formulations, and business practices in my online Create Your Skincare Professional Edition course. 

How are you celebrating Earth Day this day and every day in your home or business?

Please share in the comments below!

*Carpenter Bee photo by Daniel Schwen [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]. Trees photo by Casey Horner via Unsplash.

Why Humans Need Handmade Now More Than Ever

Why Humans Need Handmade Now More Than Ever

If you were a fly on the wall in my house back in the 1980s and 1990s, you would have been one inspired fly. Now I’m not here to claim that my family was any more or less entertaining/weird/crazy/dramatic than anyone else’s was, but one thing we were for sure was creative. My mom was into handmade everything, whether it was homecooked meals (even though she was a working single mom, we had homecooked meals almost every single day), pottery, crafts with pressed flowers and dried leaves, actual paintings (Mom has an affinity for chickens and roosters), Halloween costumes, DIY skin care remedies–you name it. Some of her catchphrases that still echo in my head when I’m shopping are: “You know you could make this for half the price,” and of course “They don’t make them like they used to” (I’m sure you’ve heard that one too).

Although I used to roll my eyes, Mom was right. Though the popularity of the Handmade Revolution/Maker Movement has jacked prices of craft supplies and fabric up higher than they were in the ’80s and ’90s, the quality of mass-produced goods has gone down significantly. Even clothing purchased at “better” department stores is rarely higher quality than that purchased at discount and off-price stores. The fabric quality itself might be slightly better, but what does that matter if it still falls apart after just a few wears?

I have always loved handmade arts and crafts because I marvel at the amazing things people create from almost nothing; with just their hearts, souls, and own two hands.

Handmade doll

Me as a baby with the “Rachael doll” my Cioci (Polish for “aunt”) Stella made for me.

I credit that appreciation again to my mother, but also to all the women (and many of the men) on her side of the family. My aunt, great aunts, cousins–they each had incredible talent for handmade things like crocheted blankets, the Polish arts of paper cutting and painted eggs (wycinanki and pysanki–check out my cousin Felicia’s amazing work here), stained glass, doll making, jewelry making, pottery, figurine making, ceramics, you name it.

Some of the crafts I’ve enjoyed over the years are handmade skin care (obviously), pottery (although I’m really not that great at throwing pots), setting gemstones into jewelry (I have a gemology certificate), painting and illustrating, card making, polymer clay design, fashion design and sewing, doll-making, interior decorating, surface pattern and textile design, cooking, herb gardening, and handwork like knitting and crocheting.

While the Industrial Revolution certainly made certain aspects of life easier and more accessible, what it also did was disconnect us from our own innate creativeness.

It took humans thousands of years to get to the point where they were able to live off the land–feed, shelter, clothe, and care for themselves and their communities. To create art, music, theater, toys, and games. They may not have had many conveniences in life, but they knew how to be self-reliant individually, and within their own communities. In just a couple hundred years, we’ve managed to undo all that. And I’m not sure that we’re better off because of it.

Technology has helped us in many ways–my goodness, without the Internet, I would not be able to make my living doing work that matters to me while still being able to homeschool my younger daughter (using mostly online curriculum). It has removed certain barriers to knowledge that kept many people from being able to achieve their dreams or venture out from outdated societal roles. Technology in modern medicine–when used appropriately–has saved many lives. But technology and mass production have also depleted natural resources, polluted the air, soil, and waterways making humans and wildlife acutely and chronically ill, and have also disconnected us from our own connection to the land–and to ourselves.

When you use something handmade, you’re not only using the thing, and getting whatever result the thing is supposed to deliver.

One of my mom’s paintings, “King Rooster” by Cathy Moskal, 2003

You get someone’s expertise. You get someone’s own particular way of doing things that makes it just a little different from the craftsperson down the street. You get someone’s passion–their why in life–their creative spark. You’re getting their spirit and their humanity.

It shocks me how many people have no idea what’s in their skin care or have no idea where their food comes from.

It shocks me that people don’t know how to grow their own food, create their own art or make their own music. It shocks me that so many kids today–and so many adults–don’t know what to do with themselves when the power goes out or they go somewhere without wifi.

Not to get all dramatic or dystopian on you, but should some disaster happen, what would most people do? How would they find and prepare food? How would they maintain warmth and shelter? How would they clothe themselves? How would they tend to their sick and wounded? How would they create beauty, music, and enjoyment?

When entertainment is available on demand, there’s less need to create. When goods and services are just a click away, we no longer have the need to find creative solutions for our problems or ways take care of ourselves.

lemurian quartz crystal

My Lemurian quartz crystal made into a beautiful pendant by my cousin Terry.

I’m not saying we need to revert back to an agrarian lifestyle, or go off the grid. But I do think it’s time to find a happy medium and reconnect both to ourselves and to the earth. We need to find value in the little things–the simple things, and we need to recognize, value, and support skill and talent. By embracing the Handmade Revolution, we can do that. When we incorporate the value of handmade into our lives, we give ourselves the freedom to express form, invigorate the senses, and quite frankly, prevent the creative brain from going dormant.

We are all creative beings, and creative beings need to create as much as we need to eat, breathe, and sleep.

If we stifle our creativity, or discount its importance, we then create blockages in other aspects of life. That can hinder our ability to move forward in different areas like health, work, and relationships.

One of the things I love the most about expressing creativity through his that when you create; whether it is a complete garment begun from just one thread, or whether it is a scene or precious moment in time you’ve managed to capture, you leave a legacy. In a way, I believe that expressing creativity is the closest we get to immortality.

One of my own handmade skin care gift sets.

Make handmade, share handmade, buy handmade, sell handmade.

So whether it’s a simple doodle, beeswax candle, beaded jewelry, knitted scarf, mini succulent garden, herbal salve, or organic skin care product line–I encourage you to add handmade into your life. Teach your kids the wonder of how it feels to be able to say “I made that.” Use handmade crafts to reconnect your mental, emotional, and spiritual with the physical to restore balance in your life.

How to Indulge in a Chocolate Spa Day at Home

How to Indulge in a Chocolate Spa Day at Home

One of the biggest skincare myths of all time is that chocolate causes breakouts. Luckily, that myth has been busted many times! The truth is that not only does chocolate itself NOT cause breakouts (the culprits are actually the milk, sugar, and processed ingredients IN commercial chocolate), but it’s also extremely beneficial for the skin and uplifting to the mood. High quality organic chocolate (70% cacao or higher) is packed full of skin-healthy nutrition including essential fatty acids, vitamins like Vitamin C, minerals like magnesium, and flavonoid antioxidants. For nourished, resilient skin, I recommend incorporating chocolate into your diet AND topical skincare regimen. The great news is that you treat yourself to a decadent chocolate spa experience right into your own home! It’s a perfect theme for your next Love Your Skin Date.

I wholeheartedly recommend scheduling what I call “Love Your Skin Date” into your schedule at least once a month.

I feel so strongly about this that it’s actually part of my curriculum in my Create Your Skincare online courses. These are essentially self-care days where you unplug, send the kids to Grandma’s or out with friends (if they’re older), and devote the day to your own enjoyment–whatever that means for you. For me, I like to geek out with my crystals, read,  drink coffee, watch romantic comedies from the ’80s and ’90s, give myself a long bath and organic skin care treatment, and eat yummy treats. Sometimes I take myself out, but more often than not, I stay in.

As I wrote in my book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It is not selfish, and it is nothing to feel guilty for wanting or needing. I hear so many stories these days where women (moms in particular) feel like they need to go to a hotel room just for a day or night of undisturbed peace and quiet. And look–if that’s something that is accessible and enjoyable to you, then go for it. But if it’s not, then take out your calendar and block out an entire day within the next 30 days for yourself. Do it right now. Don’t worry, I’ll be right here when you get back.

OK now that your first Love Your Skin Date is on the calendar, here’s a simple recipe for your at-home chocolate spa day:

Whipped Chocolate Mousse Body Butter

This recipe is a take on one of the base formulae I give in my free Boutique Skincare Basics class. It doesn’t need a preservative since it doesn’t contain any water–just be sure it doesn’t come into contact with water or steam to avoid contamination!

Ingredients:

  • 30g cocoa butter
  • 66g jojoba oil
  • 1g  Vitamin E oil
  • 1g organic raw cacao powder
  • 2g essential oils or CO2 extracts (I like a blend of chocolate/cacao CO2 extract from Nature’s Gift and Phytoscents Vanilla from Formulator Sample Shop)–this is approximately 40 drops total

You will also need:

  • Double boiler setup and stove or heating element
  • Scale and prep bowls/small containers
  • Whisk
  • Single hand mixer
  • Spatula
  • Mixing bowl with ice water (for the cooling phase)
  • Container for product—2 oz/60 g dark glass jar is best with plastic spatula

Instructions:

  1. Melt butters in your simmering double boiler
  2. Turn off the heat and whisk in the oils until your consistency is uniform
  3. Place your double boiler insert into your bowl of cool water to quickly cool the mixture, stirring consistently.
  4. As it starts to solidify, fold in your antioxidant and essential oils
  5. Once your mixture reaches room temperature, whip your mixture until it gets a lighter, airier texture, using your milk frother or hand mixer (on low setting)—but don’t overdo it or it will cause the butter to solidify more than you might want! The texture should be like chocolate mousse.
  6. Use your spatula to spoon into jar (making sure your mixture doesn’t come into contact with any water)
  7. Close and tighten lid

Makes approximately 100 g of product. Store in a cool, dry place away from heat, light, and moisture.

If your skin is on the drier side, or if the weather is cold and dry, you may be able to use this as a facial moisturizer as well. If your skin is on the oilier side, it’s probably best to use this as a body moisturizer.

Here are some delicious chocolate-based recipes to add to your chocolate spa-themed Love Your Skin Date:

chocolate mousseHolistically Haute Hot Chocolate. This sugar and dairy-free hot chocolate recipe will warm your senses and your body. It’s super simple to make, and easy to modify.

Holistically Haute Chocolate Mousse. Chocolate mousse is hands down my favorite dessert. Not only does it remind me of Paris (where it’s “mousse au chocolate”), but it’s actually one of the healthier dessert choices out there because it’s so rich, you don’t need much to feel satisfied. This recipe can be made dairy-free, and contains no added sugar.

Holistically Haute Apothecary Lip Balm. To make this basic lip balm recipe chocolatey, all you need to do is change out the essential oil recommendation. Again, I recommend a blend of chocolate CO2 extract and Phytoscents Vanilla.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite chocolate-based skincare product or chocolate spa treatment?

Please share in the comments below!

*Cacao butter photo by Will Power via Flickr

Create Your Skincare Story: Native 2 Nature Skin care

Create Your Skincare Story: Native 2 Nature Skin care

Teaching skincare and wellness practitioners and budding skincare entrepreneurs how to start or grow their skincare business in my online course, Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, is one of my absolute favorite parts of my job. I love connecting with dedicated and creative like-minded people, like Native 2 Nature Skin care, and I love teaching them my passion for herbal and custom skincare and skincare business.

Watching a student take an idea and dream into a fully developed herbal skincare brand, and supporting their creative process along the way is one of the most rewarding things I’ve had the honor to experience.

Today, I proudly share with you my student, Tasha Hetke’s Create Your Skincare Story, and introduce you to her brand, Native2Nature Skincare.

Watch Tasha’s Create Your Skincare Story below:

Or Read Tasha’s Create Your Skincare Story below:

Rachael: Thank you for being here, Tasha! Thank you so much, first of all, for being part of Create Your Skincare family, and for taking the time today. 

Tasha: Yeah, thank you for having me. 

Rachael: Such a pleasure. So, you’ve been with the Create Your Skincare family for a while. What’s exciting is that you really went from start, ground zero, to complete finished brand, through the Create Your Skincare program. So, I would love to know, first, how you got into wanting to make skincare. So, can you give us a little bit about your backstory, and how you came to wanting to make NATIVE 2 NATURE skin care?

Tasha: Sure. So, ever since I was a little girl, I had my own skin issues. I had eczema when I was younger, and then it came back when I was in college. And then, it came back again when I was planning my wedding, go figure. I also am prone to blemishes. So, I’ve always been interested in skincare, not necessarily making it, but seeking it out. I had tried a ton of different brands, and I know so many people say they tried everything. And then, my mom was diagnosed with leukemia, so when that happened, it was kind of a turn from seeking whatever medication, to seeking more holistic care for the entire body. So that’s when I went on the avenue to find something that fit my skin type, that was natural. Not natural, in the sense of walking into Walmart and it says, “Natural” but, natural as in unrefined oils essential oils–but not essential oils from like, you know, Walgreens. 

Rachael:  I just want to take a quick break to mention that in Create Your Skincare, we have a couple students who really are ingredient gurus. They really just seek out the highest possible quality. I see them posting in all of the smaller, like kind of underground ingredient groups, and ingredient co-ops where people are actually going to different countries to buy these ingredients right from the source. They really have become experts on locating the best quality, unrefined, organic, fair-trade ingredients that are possible at this point in time, on this planet, from the humans that are producing them. So, Tasha is one of those people.

Native2Nature SkincareTasha: Yeah, so essential oils, unrefined, all that quality sourcing was super important to me. And I remember … so, to start the class, it is a little bit of a financial commitment. I talked it over with my husband, and I was working a nine to five. And I was like, “This is something that I’m really interested in,” because I still wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted, something that I agreed with, with packaging, or ingredients, or customer service. So then, I decided that I needed to be that person for other people like me, who really wanted to find someone that they could trust for quality, customer service. I try to be the full package. So then, I took the class, and I remember when I was studying, because I would bring my materials everywhere with me, like in the vehicle when my husband and I would go fishing. I would study in the car, and study in the boat. I was really into it, and treated it like it was a college course. I’ve been out of college for years now, but it was kind of fun because it wasn’t something that I was forced to take because I needed a certain credit amount, but it was something that I was really passionate to take. So, that made me want to learn, and it made things stick a lot more than a couple of my college courses. It’s so fun to have a starting point, and just learn from other people, especially through the Create Your Own Skincare program, and having that communication and the Facebook page, and how important that has been for me. Overall, I’ve created my skincare brand because I wanted to really serve the people that kind of were like myself, in the sense of searching.

Rachael: I would love to have you talk about how you got to the NATIVE 2 NATURE skin care brand, because I know that was a process for you, that we worked together for a long time, to help you hone that down, and come up with the name. When you are making a product that you are trying to market and sell, nobody else can have it. There are also different versions of the name that, if it’s too close, you can’t have that name either. So, that was a super fun process, wasn’t it, Tasha?

Tasha: Yeah, I thought I had a name for like a year, and it’s something that I started on Instagram, and I was like, I’m just going to kind of like dip my toes in the water. And then, I went and I looked on GoDaddy domain, and it was taken. So, it was a process. And then, I talked to a lawyer, and I recommend you doing that, because just the paperwork part of it, and the legal aspects, you can’t know everything. So, yeah, NATIVE2NATURE, honestly, it took me probably … and this is not supposed to be discouraging, but it took me about two years to think of the name, or even longer. I can’t even remember. But, it’s been something that was in the back of my mind. One day I was visiting my brother down in Florida, got up early in the morning, went to the beach, and started writing stuff in sand. I sent it to Rachael. I was like, “What do you think of this? What do you think of that?” So, when I was heading out the door one day, NATIVE2NATURE came to me. It completely agrees with my brand concept because everything in it is native to nature. Right? I didn’t want people to think that I added a bunch of synthetic fragrances or ingredients. So, that was really straightforward. But then, also I was like, “someone’s gotta have that.” And then, I did more research, and I asked the trademark guy to go in and look, and he’s like, “No, I think we’re good.” 

So, trademarking takes months and months and months. So, I would say, if you want to start a brand, and trademarking is important for you, that get on it right away, because it’s definitely not something you want to just leave off. I’m still in the process of trademarking. Everything sounds really good. I’m hoping it goes through. So, it’s just easier to do it beforehand, because I think it can take up to a year. But again, it’s better to do it than never do it, because then, no one can come in and try to mimic you, because if their products are not of great quality, people might then associate that with your name, and you don’t really want to tarnish what you’ve done for your branding. 

Rachael: Yeah, that’s a really important point. And I also just want to point out that even though it did take you a long time, Tasha, to come up with the perfect name, and the perfect logo, and the branding and everything, it’s not like that’s all you were doing for that time. You were still doing massive amounts of research and development, and continuing education, and continuing to post in the group about different things you were working on, and checking with me about percentages, and checking in and staying connected. Just finding the name is one aspect of it, but what I want to communicate to anyone who is considering starting a skin care brand, and they’re like, “Oh my god, what if I’ll never be able to name it,” don’t let that part of it, or the trademark part of it hold you back, because when you have a business, there’s always something to do. There’s always something to do both on the learning side of it, and then the doing side. I mean, how many times have we talked about tweaking when it comes to, okay, maybe that preservative system didn’t work. Maybe that emulsifier didn’t hold the product together. There is a whole bunch of research and development that does go in to making even one product. Even if it’s a simple product that does not contain any preservatives or emulsifiers, and this is an example of that. This is an oil serum that is a blend of beautiful, natural plant-based oils. This has kiwi seed oil. This has red raspberry, rose hip, buriti, elderberry extract, some beautiful essential oils, and then some good vibes as well. So, a product like this does not need to have a preservative necessarily, or an emulsifier, because it doesn’t have any water in it. We teach you how to balance that out, how to balance out these types of formulations, not just with ingredients that work together logically, in the bottle, but also, who are you formulating for? What types of ingredients are going to be best for that person, whether it’s a single person, if you’re custom blending, or if you are making products that are going to be sold online, or sold in a farmers’ market, like I know you’ve done before. 

Native2Nature Outdoorsy Warm Weather SerumDon’t let one little detail that does take a long time hold you up, because there’s always something else you can be doing to fill that time. Honestly, Tasha, if you didn’t do it that way, I feel like you would’ve had a completely different product line. You kind of had to go through that process of finding the name, in order to further refine the brand, and even the formulations. When it comes to the process of being a skincare business owner, you haven’t shied away from some of the harder parts of it. If anything, you’ve dove into them, and you’ve embraced them, while you’re still doing kind of the fun stuff, like the design and ingredients, and stuff like that. So, I’m really excited to see where NATIVE2NATURE goes, and to watch it grow. It really looks, from my perspective, like you’re making your choices very purposefully. So, I’m really proud of you for that. 

Tasha: Thank you. 

Tasha’s Experience – Create Your Skincare Pro Edition Online Course – Native 2 Nature Skin Care

Rachael: You’re welcome. Okay. So, I want to get back to Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, and ask you what was your favorite part of that experience?

Tasha: My favorite part of the Professional Edition was I think hearing from the other professionals that you had live, and being able to ask them questions, because a lot of times, I signed up for webinars, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to ask them questions. And Rachael will confirm this–I’m a question asker. 

Rachael: She is. 

Tasha: I’m not afraid to ask questions. I love to learn about it. And I really want to know everything I can know about it because when customers ask me questions, I want to be knowledgeable about specific ingredients. And, even from the marketing standpoint, I want to be able to present myself as professionally as possible. So, in listening to your classes and being able to talk to the guest teachers questions throughout the classes, it was really helpful and useful to me. I also really like using the Facebook tool, just to hop on, because once in a while, I’ll be formulating something completely different or new, I’ll be like, “Oh no, what about this percentage?” That was a really big benefit because you can Google all you want, and you can Pinterest ’til your face turns blue, but until you actually have accurate information about things like preserving, and even the marketing side of things, it’s probably not going to go super far. I wanted to start this like a little side career because some day when we have kiddos, I want to be able to stay home with them, but yet still financially contribute. That is important to me. I feel like through the Pro Edition, it really helped me with the marketing part, and with actually putting things into place. 

Rachael:  I really want people thinking about marketable and purposeful decisions that are good business decisions right from the start, in addition to, “Wow, that’s a really cool ingredient that I want to have in my product, ’cause it’s awesome, and it smells great, and feels great, and oh my god.” Right? Tasha, how many cool ingredients are there that we have … 

Tasha: A thousand, million, trillion … 

Rachael: From this beautiful planet that we share, right? There are so many tempting ingredients out there. So, I really want to help people make decisions for ingredient selections that are not only just really cool ingredients, but also that are like, hey, that actually makes a lot of sense in your product, in the actual bottle itself, with the other ingredients you have in here, but also for your client, for your target customer, and from a marketing and business standpoint as well. 

Tasha: Right. 

Tasha’s Advice to You

Rachael: Cool. So, based on the experience that you’ve had in Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, what advice would you give to someone who is considering taking the course?

Tasha HetkeTasha: So, before I made the decision to enroll, I was on the fence about it. I mean, I wanted to do it, but it was more talking my husband into it, at that point. But then, also, it was something I was super passionate about, and I can tell you for certain, that if I wouldn’t have taken the course, I would still just be making sugar scrubs and putting jojoba on my face and that’s it. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I wouldn’t be where I am right now, at all, today. It has been a journey, and a process, and if you go into a business thinking there’s not going to be any hiccups, you’re just going to feel awful the whole time, because there’s going to be hiccups. Just kind of what Rachael said, you have to kind of embrace it, expect it. Expect the best, but also prepare for things not going well at times, because you want to keep your positive energy going, and that’s something that’s important to my brand. I make my nature skin care around Himalayan Salt Lamps, and I unplug all the electronics around me that I can, because I feel that your energy really does resonate, or go into your product. 

Rachael: Absolutely. 

Tasha: So if you feel passionate about doing this, and you’re on the fence, I’d say sleep on it, and if you’re a person of prayer, pray about it, and or talk to a friend. But, I think that so many people miss opportunities that they’re passionate about because maybe society feels the need to tell you, “You won’t make it.” I just think we really have to push those thoughts out of our heads, because you can listen to negative thoughts all day long, but really, it’s the positive ones that are going to make the most impactful  decisions in your life. If you’re on the fence, I’d say, do it, because it’s really not crazy expensive, considering all I got out of it. And again, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I left my nine to five to pursue this. I would’ve done that, I wouldn’t have had the guts to do that. I’m not saying I’m making the same amount of money, but I’m a lot happier where I am. 

Rachael: And you’re just getting started. You have to start somewhere. You are making money, which is something. 

Tasha: Sure, right. 

Rachael: That’s a huge thing. You took that leap. You’re already seeing reward. You’re already growing a following. You have a good head about it. You’re not making decisions based just on impulse. You’re thinking it through. But, you’re also taking risks. You have a good balance of risk and being methodical about it. That is really necessary for a successful business person. So, I see amazing things for you in the future of NATIVE2NATURE. So, where are you at now?

Tasha: I just launched my website. I also just got done formulating my next serum. So, that will be my next product for this next season. It’ll be called Outdoorsy Cool Weather Serum.

Rachael: Perfect. 

Tasha: My niche is for those who like to be outdoors, because I’m outdoorsy, and I honestly didn’t really see it on the market. I’m sure someone does it somewhere, but it wasn’t as popular as maybe like, aging, which yes, people are very interested in that. But, I wanted something for people when they’re outside, that’s going to protect and restore your skin. So, my warm weather is for the warmer weather. The reason why I didn’t called it summer and winter is because for people in California and Florida, their cool weather is still pretty warm, sometimes. 

I chose not to take out a loan for my business, so it’s something that I kind of have to gradually grow, which is okay, because if I were to come out with a big line right away, I think, for my personality, it would’ve been too overwhelming. So, know your limits, and yourself, what you can handle, and what you have time to handle. 

Rachael: I think that’s a really big point, and I’m glad you made that, because you know, a lot of people worry, “Well, how am I going to fund this thing? What if I can’t get a loan? What if I don’t want to take on a loan right now? What if I don’t have anyone helping me?” I’ll tell you, I did not start my business with a loan. I self-funded my business and chose to grow it slowly as well. When you start too big, too fast, many people just end up losing money because haven’t they tested the market, or built an audience. They haven’t done that part of it. You really gain a lot of wisdom from going slowly, because you’re learning every step of the way, and the decisions that you’re making for your spending, are going to be a lot more thought out. I want to reflect back to the Herbal Skincare Summit. One of our teachers, Kevin Gianni, from Annmarie Skin Care, said, “What I would recommend to anyone is start with one, really kick-ass serum, and market the heck out of it, and sell it, and then see what happens, and make your decisions next from there.” I think that’s really sound advice, because really one of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they start these brands is that they just have too many products, and they’re still going for that quantity over quality. I really want my students to go quality, always. Never sacrifice quality for quantity. 

Tasha, is there anything else that you would like to share, either about Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, or NATIVE2NATURE?

Tasha: I guess, my number one advice is go for it. Learn along the way, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you choose to take the course, you are investing time and money into it, and with that, don’t be afraid that your question’s going to sound stupid, or not. Or, just look up my name if you’re a part of the Facebook group, because I ask a whole bunch of questions. Feel free to reach out. So, just go for it, and be confident in yourself.

Rachael: Fantastic. All right. So if you are someone who is thinking about whether this is for you, you’re not quite sure, I do offer complementary skincare business consultations to anyone who is serious in learning more about Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, and joining us in one of our upcoming live semesters. So, you can go to createyourskincare.com and schedule that appointment there, and you can also enroll in the course directly right from that website. 

Tasha, thank you so much for joining me today. I really am just so excited for you. 

Tasha: Yeah, thank you for having me. I appreciate it. 

Learn more about Native2Nature Skincare and connect with Tasha:

Learn more about Create Your Skincare Professional Edition at www.createyourskincare.com.

 

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Packaging for Your Herbal Skincare Business

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Packaging for Your Herbal Skincare Business

“Sustainable.” It’s a word that you hear all the time. On social media. On the news. It’s become a buzzword that has transformed how we go about our everyday lives in a multitude of ways. But what does it actually mean? And, how does it relate to you and your skincare business?

Studies have shown consumers care now more than ever about the effects their decisions and behaviors have on our planet. Waste, pollution, climate change, water scarcity, deforestation, global warming… just a few to name off an ever-growing list of environmental concerns that plague our world today. And the public, including consumers, is taking notice.

Consumers aren’t only focused on their own choices – they’re also becoming more aware of everything around them. This includes everything from the brands they purchase to the companies they choose to do business with. And, also, how products in their households are made, and their consumption of those products. Packaging, specifically, has had a significant impact on our environment. Packaging alone accounts for 40% of all plastic usage, with only 14% being properly recycled. As pollution of our oceans, lands, and air continues to escalate, consumers are looking for products, companies, and business owners they can trust to make positive efforts towards saving our planet. This includes sustainable packaging in our niche of the skincare and beauty industry.

So, what exactly is it to be environmentally sustainable?

Environmental sustainability: A state in which the demands placed on the environment can be met without reducing its capacity to allow all people to live well, now and in the future.

Essentially, sustainability is an effort to live life or do business in a way that is friendly to the natural environmental and is sustainable for the planet as a whole. The overall goal being to protect the earth’s ecological balance.

2017 alone presented a huge trend of eco-friendly and sustainable packaging becoming a priority in the beauty marketing segment. Big brands such as Garnier, Dior, Lush, Tata Harper and more have all made conscious, deliberate efforts to incorporate eco-responsible packaging. International studies by Unilever have found that over one-third of consumers prefer to purchase from sustainable brands, or brands they perceive as making an effort to do environmental good.

With the world of “green living” being so expansive and encompassing, it can be intimidating as a small business owner to know where to start. Will it cost more? Will I be able to find sustainable packaging suppliers that fit my needs? Will I be able to make effective changes? Where do I start?

One of the first areas we can evaluate is the one part of our business that has been proven to be one of the highest contributors to global pollution: packaging. With so much information available today, it can be cumbersome to dig through. Below, we’ll go over some popular “eco-friendly” and sustainable options that you can consider utilizing in your own skincare businesses. I’ve also provided a quick reference rating guide that rates each option in terms of their overall “greenness,” price, and availability.

Here are my top 4 sustainable packaging options for herbal skincare:

1. Bamboo

These frosted glass jars with bamboo lids are available on Amazon.

Little known to many, bamboo is actually classified as a grass. Due to this distinction, the plant has fast-growing qualities (it’s one of the fastest growing plants on the planet, in fact!) that earn it a reputation as a favorable option for renewable or sustainable packaging materials. Bamboo also has a naturally high strength-to-weight ratio, providing the material with a higher compressive strength than wood, brick, or concrete. In short, bamboo is a reliable, strong, and green option for packaging. Bamboo is also biodegradable and compostable – making it not only strong, but also a fantastic option for being environmentally conscious.

Bamboo has become a material of choice in the cosmetic industry, with a wealth of packaging options increasing each year. Online retailers provide attractive options such as canisters, jars, tubes, bottles, and more for filling and selling product. Just be aware that many of them still have plastic inside, so look for recycled or otherwise sustainable plastic, or glass insides to your bamboo bottles and jars.

  • Green Rating – ★★★
  • Price Rating –
  • Availability Rating –

1 = lowest score; 3 = highest score

2. Recycled Cardboard

Cardboard lip balm tubes of many colors are available on Amazon.

Most all modern garbage companies, for both households and businesses, have evolved to include a curbside cardboard pick-up due to the high-commodity usage of the material. Cardboard, along with paper, can be recycled to be redeveloped into a number of different products, so even if you can’t find recycled cardboard for all of your sustainable packaging needs, regular cardboard packaging is still an eco-friendly option. Over half of cardboard recycled will be used to make new cardboard boxes, with the rest being downcycled into thinner paperboard material. Utilizing recycled cardboard in your product packaging is not only helping the environment by incorporating a recycled material into your business practices – but also serves as a positive contribution post-sale, as recycled cardboard is biodegradable, compostable, and/or recyclable on the consumer-end.

Creative uses of recycled cardboard have expanded with the increase of needs in the “green living” space. Adding to the list of regularly found recycled products, such as shipping boxes, businesses can now find jars, tubes, and a multitude of shaped containers that are now available in recycled cardboard material for cosmetic products.

  • Green Rating – ★★
  • Price Rating – ★★★
  • Availability Rating – ★★★

1 = lowest score; 3 = highest score

3. Glass

Cobalt blue glass bottles are an easily accessible and attractive sustainable packaging option for your herbal skincare products.

Glass is universally one of the most eco-friendly product options available. It holds the unique quality of being “infinitely recyclable” – meaning it can be recycled over and over and over again, without any negative secondhand effects; such as a decrease in material quality or strength. Glass is also non-porous and impermeable, meaning there is no risk of an interaction between the packaging and the material the glass holds. Glass also has a zero rate of chemical reactions, ensuring that whatever is kept within glass packaging have no negative interactions with the material that would affect taste, aroma, or flavor. This is why glass is the number one option for food and beverage packaging. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ranked glass with a status of “GRAS” – or, generally recognized as safe – which is the highest of FDA standards.

Generally, due to the weight and fragile nature of the material, glass can be considered one of the more difficult and expensive options (especially Infinity or Miron glass), in terms of both product cost and shipping costs. However, one way to combat against this (and a common strategy in the beauty industry as a whole) is to incorporate “refill” programs when utilizing glass packaging. More details about this can be found below in our “Think Outside the Box” section.

  • Green Rating – ★★★
  • Price Rating –
  • Availability Rating – ★★

1 = lowest score; 3 = highest score

4. Recycled plastics

The majority of recyclable plastic bottles still end up in landfills because they are not recycled properly or at all.

Recent Earth Day Network studies have discovered that since plastic was developed in the 1950’s, over 8.3 billion tons of the material has been produced. Unfortunately, 91% of this material is not recycled – even though recycling plastic saves twice as much energy than disposing of it does.

Understandably, there will be times when you may find plastic is unavoidable. Even when we have the best of intentions, sometimes budget, availability, or other outstanding factors can get in the way. However, know that the market is now growing rapidly with recycled plastic options to help control the rapid spread of plastic pollution. While you may not be able to avoid utilizing the material – purchasing plastic containers that are certified as eco-friendly or 100% recycled can still assist in making a difference! These are not as easily accessible in small quantities, but I predict that will change as awareness and demand continues to increase.

  • Green Rating –
  • Price Rating – ★★★
  • Availability Rating –

1 = lowest score; 3 = highest score

Thinking outside the box

Sustainability doesn’t only encompass the materials we utilize for packaging – there are also a ton of other creative ways to accomplish a more sustainable brand. Even the smallest considerations can make a huge impact and contribute towards positive change in the greater world around us.

Here are a few other ways to consider making your products more “green”:

  • Product design – Even details that may seem minor can have a large impact on the overall sustainability and “green footprint.” There may be creative ways for you to change the size of your packaging, for example. Or, changing the shape of your product to achieve more efficient shipping.
  • Selecting “green” partners – Do your best to work with companies or manufacturers who utilize materials from renewable or sustainably-managed forest sources, or are known to make an effort to incorporate eco-friendly practices.
  • Recycled paper – Packaging is only one part of the many pieces that are involved in your business. You can also utilize recycled materials in other areas – such as the paper you use to print invoices, packing slips, and more!
  • Minimize additional elements – As small as they may seem, any additional paper included with your product (leaflets, corrugated information cards, cellophane wrapping) all product excess waste on the consumer-end. Re-evaluate your current product materials to determine if there is anyway to condense or combine to decrease your carbon footprint.
  • Refill programs – Refill programs, most commonly coupled with glass packaging, have become very popular in the beauty industry. Brands such as Blackstones in NYC, M.A.C., fragrance brand Thierry Mugler, LUSH, Kiehl’s, and more. Consumers are encouraged to bring in their empty bottles to either recycle or refill. This not only reduces waste – but can also save your costs on additional packaging for repeat customers!

Is sustainable packaging something you think about for your products?

What solutions have you found either for your herbal skincare business, or for your at-home needs? Please share in the comments below!

Need more suggestions for where to purchase sustainable packaging for your herbal skincare products?

I offer a comprehensive list of preferred suppliers for both raw ingredients and packaging supplies to my Create Your Skincare students. Our next semester of Create Your Skincare Professional Edition starts soon!

Click HERE to learn more and schedule your complimentary Skincare Business Consultation today.

*Plastics photo credit J. MacPherson via Flickr

**This post contains affiliate links. Purchases made after clicking on a link in this post may result in me earning a small commission (at no extra cost to you). These commissions help me continue to bring you top quality free holistic skincare resources and educational events like this. I appreciate your support!

The Perfect Bedtime Bath for a Great Night’s Sleep

The Perfect Bedtime Bath for a Great Night’s Sleep

Oprah Winfrey swears by the power of a bedtime bath as a way to de-stress and get ready for sleep. Well, if it’s good enough for Mother Oprah, the queen of daytime and Super Soul Sundays, one woman empire and potential future president of the United States, then it’s sure good enough for you and me. But what makes the perfect bath? Well read on below and I’ll tell you. But first…

Why is a bedtime bath good for sleep?

Before we get into how to have the perfect bedtime bath let’s just cover quickly exactly why a pre-bed soak is my favorite way to get ready for bed. It’s all about heat but not in the way you may imagine 😉

Researchers have found that your brain needs to drop its temperature slightly in order to sleep. That’s why it is easier to fall asleep in a room that’s too cold rather than one that’s too hot. Being cooler will not only help induce sleep quicker it will also promote better deep non-REM sleep.

What has this got to do with a bath, that’s typically hot, not cold? Well, when you have a soak in a nice hot bath, capillaries expand and your blood rushes to the skin, a process referred to as vasodilation. Hence the rosy cheeks!

(Special consideration: if you have rosacea, spider or varicose veins, or another circulatory or known health issue, be sure to use tepid water in your bath and/or consult with your licensed health practitioner!)

bedtime bathWhen you then step out of the warm water, this heat is rapidly transferred to the air around you, and you experience a massive thermal dump. Your core temperature drops, and it’s this rapid cooling effect that is so good at helping you get to sleep.

An ice cold shower would have much of the same impact. Let’s face it though, a soak in soothing bath salts with herbs and essential oils is more than slightly more appealing.

Ok, now that the science is out of the way let’s move onto what makes a perfect bedtime bath. I’m going to assume you know the basics of how to run a bath, so below I’m going to focus on the things around the edges that you might not have considered. It’s little details like these that will elevate a good bedtime bath to the perfect bedtime bath.

Here are my top 5 tips to create a perfect bedtime bath ritual:

Clear your post-bath schedule

Once bathtime is over, all you want to do is towel yourself off, wrap yourself up in that lovely soft rope and head straight to bed. The easiest way to ruin a pre-bed bath is for it not to be before bed.

If after your soak you still have a heap of chores to do then you are gonna instantly destroy all the good work your bath has done to relax you. So, before you even consider going near those taps, make sure absolutely everything is done for the next day.

Ask for, nay, demand privacy

Do not disturb!Nothing will drain the relaxation quicker than assorted family members banging on the bathroom door. Before you head for your soak make sure every single member of the household knows you’re not to be disturbed unless something very important has occurred.

By very important I mean of the level of someone’s bleeding profusely, the dog is on fire, or the cat is stuck in a tree!

If you only have the one bathroom in the house then make sure everyone gets the opportunity to use the facilities before you lock them out. Then, if their tiny bladders still can’t cope, kindly direct them out to the garden.

Create the right ambience

What’s the main difference between your bathroom and a high-end spa? Ambience, that’s what. When you walk into a spa the whole atmosphere oozes relaxation.

If you break it down to the fundamentals however, all these fancy places do is dim the lights a touch, light a few candles and play a little bit of ambient background music. These are three things you are perfectly capable of replicating in your own bathroom, no matter the size!

Invest in few nice scented candles (I prefer either beeswax or soy candles, scented only with essential oils), or if you’re sensitive to candles, an essential oil diffuser and top quality essential oils. Download a nice chillaxing playlist to your phone. And voila! Now you’re in for an instant five star spa experience.

Diffuse some oils

Essential oils for your bedtime bath

essential oils for atomatherapy treatment with lavender and gemstones in white backround

Creating the perfect ambience isn’t just about music and lighting, it is about massaging all the senses, including your sense of smell.

Try diffusing some essential oils. Frankincense and lavender are well known for their relaxing and hypnotic qualities. As you soak deep into your bath let the scent wash over you and transport you to another level of calm.

Try not to fall asleep completely in the bath, however, as that could be a little dangerous! It might be helpful to set a timer for 20 minutes or so.

Remember your refreshment

What we eat can affect how well we sleep. Some foods are sleep blockers, others sleep promoters. I like to enhance my bath time experience with a nice cup of chamomile tea, a well known sleep aid. Or, if I’m in extra need of some comfort I make a cup of golden milk.

Golden milk might sound expensive but it earned its name for its colour not its cost. Made by mixing a heaped teaspoon of turmeric into warm milk, then seasoned with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon for taste.

Not only does the concoction taste delicious, it’s also incredibly comforting. Like a great big bear hug for your insides. And on top of that both turmeric and milk have crazy sleep inducing qualities. Yay!

Golden milk is the perfect bath time treat if you ask me!

Well there you have it, my five step recipe to the perfect bedtime bath.

Clear your schedule, put up the Do Not Disturb sign, get the ambience spot on, get the aromascape right and take on some light, comforting refreshment.

For more great sleep nuggets like this, check out the Sleep Advisor blog.

Have I forgotten anything?

What’s your favorite bedtime bath ritual? Please share in the comments below!

 

 

*Do Not Disturb image By Arz [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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