Tag: tea tree oil

Deliciously scented, all natural food for your skin & hair, created by a super smart herbalist. Have you tried Roots Rose Radish yet?

March 24th, 2013 — 3:46am
photo courtesy of photographer Dawn Blackman: http://dawnblackman.com/

photo courtesy of photographer Dawn Blackman: http://dawnblackman.com/


While I was in Los Angeles in January I spent the day with the creator of the all natural skincare, hair oil,  and fragrance line, Roots Rose Radish. She wears a lot of hats: from herbalist to doula (soon to be a midwife!), RRR founder and creator, Christian Toscano, really knows her stuff when it comes to plants. We started with a hike in Griffith Park, where she pulled out her shears and wild crafted ingredients that she uses in her product line and around her home. I should have brought a notebook because my brain couldn’t keep up with all the ‘oh my gosh, I had no idea!’ information she shared with me about nearly every plant, tree, grass, and flower we passed.

I met Christian earlier last year when she came to NYC to introduce her  handmade-in-small-batches line of products to magazine editors. The first thing she said to me when I picked up her honey pecan rose face cleanser was: here’s a spoon -” you have to taste it.”

I loved that we share the belief that what we put on our bodies has to be safe enough for us to eat. Our skin is our largest organ, and as Christian says: “it does the most ingestion and elimination for the body, and  plays an important part in the immune system – protecting against pathogens and harsh chemicals. We have to nourish it with only the best!”

So far my favorites from her line are the Wild Grains Face Exfoliator made with French green clay,  the Citrus Face Oil Cleanser (which doubles as a face oil- which makes it the perfect two-in-one for traveling, her Rose Face Oil -the scent is surreal, and nothing like that synthetic rose smell we’ve all come to associate with rose scents, and her Rose, Frankincense and Patchouli solid perfume that’s so beautifully housed in a shell. I keep one in my purse, and one by the front door so I’m sure to always waft a trail of deliciousness as I walk past you. I can’t tell you how many people comment that they love the way I smell!

A few years ago when I stopped wearing synthetic fragrance (and now they make me really grossed out). I’d read that when you see the word ‘fragrance’ in an ingredient list – whether it’s in a cosmetic, a room spray, a candle or your perfume, it’s pretty much always synthetic, and the exact chemicals used to formulate it aren’t required to be divulged.  Synthetic fragrances often contain petrochemicals, which have been shown time and time again to be irritating and toxic to the body and to the environment.

Back to my day with Christian: we got lost in the trails and had to slide on our bums down some really steep hills until we found our way back down. During our adventure, these are some of the things we saw:

White sage trees (how cute is Christian in that hat?):


This is the castor plant, and its’ seeds are where castor oil comes from. I had no idea. Have you ever tried using castor oil on scars? It’s fantastic. Christian recommends soaking a washcloth or muslin cloth in castor oil and sitting with it on your lower abdomen when you have period cramps. I’ve heard of this before, and seen it used to topically treat other pain happening inside the body. I think it’s pretty miraculous.


Leaf tagging – Christian had told me about this, and that it’s just like the spray-paint-on-the-side-of-a-building tagging we see all the time in NYC. To me, it’s way less cool, although an interesting phenomenon:


Back at Christian’s house, where she brewed up the most delicious and thick hibiscus tea (doesn’t it look like coffee?), I learned a lot about various ingredients she likes to use and what she grows in her garden:


These are loofahs she grows on a tree outside her home, dries, cuts to an appropriate size, and then uses as body scrubbers and dish scrubbers. Imagine how funny the tree looks with these things growing off of it. They’re NOT small.


Christian showed me one of her cabinets of ingredients. Here’s a jar of calendula blossoms.


I still haven’t tried her tinted lip balm, but this is how she gets it to be that beautiful deep berry color:


I had such a great day with my new friend, Christian. In addition to her product line that’s sold online at Urban Outfitters – and numerous other places – she also sees private clients for herbalist treatments, providing tinctures to treat everything from emotional health to intestinal health. I got some digestive bitters from her to try and stave off acne breakouts, which she says for me, probably stem from my liver.

One last visual to leave you with: I’m allergic to cats, and have taught myself not to like them. Christian’s cat was so cute, though, that I couldn’t stop taking pictures of him sniffing, and then nibbling on, the flowers



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If you’re looking for me, I’ll be at Enfleurage, learning to blend essential oils into beauty products. Wanna come?

June 25th, 2012 — 3:39pm

A friend recently tipped me off to this really neat store in the west village here in NYC. It’s called Enfleurage, which loosely translates to a process by which the fragrant compounds exuded by plants are captured and preserved.  I’d always wondered how that was done! A little research informed me that it’s quite a complex process developed by the French in the 19th century.

This small boutique offers a range of hands-on classes designed for anyone who wants to learn more about aromatherapy and essential oils. Why would I want to do that, you ask? Because then you can:

  • Stop using synthetic fragrances in the home
  • Stop using artificial fragrance for personal scent
  • Get rid of an upset stomach or headache without drugs
  • Use essential oils for basic first aid
  • Naturally build up your immune system
  • Naturally regulate and balance your mood
  • Start making your own beauty and household cleaning products
  • Save money and reduce manufacturing and packaging waste
  • Alleviate the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression without medication
  • Transition to a more eco-friendly lifestyle

I attended a free Sunday morning class with two others and loved every bit of it. Christina, our instructor, was incredibly well informed, really good at sharing information, and let us smell, touch, and feel everything. I, of course, asked a bunch of questions, and the lovely woman answered every last one and gave us each a handout she’d made with information about carrier oils, essential oils, astringents and toners, and talked to us about how to use them if acne is your issue, dryness is your concern, or you get eaten alive by mosquitos and need help stopping the itch. I can’t say enough good things about the class and the info with which I came away.

Upcoming classes (that aren’t free) include: Natural Beauty Products for the  Body, Natural Beauty Products for the Face, Essential Oils for Detoxification, and this past weekend the class was on Aromatherapy for the home, and taught attendees how to switch from synthetic to natural home fragrance, reduce or eliminate the use of harsh commercial cleansers, discover strategies for natural odor, insect and pest removal and control, and how to change their atmosphere and mood with fragrance. Students were allowed to make two customized essential oil blends to take with them. So cool, right?

Even more cool – in addition to her NYC aromatics shop, the owner has her very own distillery in Oman, where she specializes in aromatics from the natural world like frankincense and agar wood, in particular. I would love to visit her Oman shop not just because I’d love to see that part of the world again, but more importantly because she makes ice cream infused with various oils and sells them to local businesses! Amazing.  I keep up with her super cool life on her blog:  www.absolutetrygve.com

A few things I learned during the class:

  1. Franincense is most useful in skin care for its wound healing and cell regeneration properties. It plumps up the skin, which makes it good for anti-aging products. It’s also great to heal fresh scars.
  2. Tea tree is a very powerful anti-viral, anti-fugal and anti-bacterial oil, but still gentle enough (for most people)  to be used straight on the skin (although I’d keep it away from mucous membranes – ouch!) I’ve been using it on blemishes with great success.
  3. Geranium has a balancing effect on hormones internally as well as astringent properties when used externally. Because most acne is a result of hormonal fluctuations and the excess sebum our skin produces because of that hormonal ebb and flow, a geranium hydrosol (water/botanical face spray) would be great for those of us suffering with acne to add to our regimen.
  4. Sea Buckthorn Oil is known to combat dryness and wrinkles because it contains high levels of vitamins A, C, and E, which means it does a great job repairing skin and regenerating cells. A+ for those with eczema, psoriasis, burns and sun damage.

What exciting information will I learn next time? I can’t wait!




A bowl of frankincense! I had no idea that it’s resin from scraping a tree that’s unique to Africa and the Middle East.


A box of sandalwood sticks.  I never thought about the fact that that delicious scent comes from actual wood!


A nice welcome from some greenery in the window.


Sweet little Buddha sitting next to an aromatic oil-heating bowl.


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