I Tried It: The Great Guasha Experiment




I am always fascinated by international and cultural skin care treatments and was very intrigued when my plant sister, Sherry, sent me a link to an article on "Guasha," an ancient practice of cleansing and purifying the skin to promote overall wellness.

Historically, gua sha, is a traditional Chinese practice of using a tool, usually a spoon, a bone or pieces of jade, to vigorously scrape a prepared paste or oil off of areas of the body to release stagnant energy. This is thought to open up pathways of healing through the skin. In practice, the treatment sometimes can cause abrasions and bruising. This is a very simplistic explanation, of course, and does not honor the rich history and background of the practice of this treatment.

After more perusing the interwebs, it seems an alternative form of guasha is being practiced in the form of more of a body scrub delivery system, using baking soda and vodka (and sometimes crushed shells and minerals). The premise is that this treatment kills unwanted bacteria, fungus, etc. on the skin and opens up the pores to promote healing of the whole body by allowing skin to purge toxins more efficiently. 

Hmmmm....I have put stranger things on my body. Let's give it a go!

Well, I happened to have both items at the ready so I whipped enough aluminum free baking soda with vodka to make a thick paste. All I had on hand was premium vodka that was a gift, so, hey, fancy for a body scrub, huh?

My gorgeous guasha paste.
The process to perform the treatment is to shower for a moment, then turn off the water and apply some of the paste spread onto a loofah in vigorous circular motions to the body, starting at the feet and moving up.

The slight smell of a distillery was a little odd, but, since I'm taking one for the team here, I forged ahead, while pondering offering this as a spa treatment alongside a shot of vodka and a caviar face mask... 

Anyway, after a thorough scrubbing, including my face (gently for 30 seconds only, rather than the 3-5 minutes I saw recommended), I rinsed, got out of the shower and applied a light layer of coconut oil to my entire body, as suggested.

Here is my verdict on this treatment:

THE PROS
  • Although I expected the paste would be brutal, it actually had a nice creamy feel.
  • The thorough scrubbing was very invigorating and my skin felt very smooth and toned afterward (I suppose the vodka had the same toning effect as an aftershave on skin tissues). I felt peppy and ready to start my day!
THE CONS
  • My skin did feel dry and tight afterward, even with the application of coconut oil, as I suspected it may, using alcohol as a body cleanser.
  • My skin was smooth, but not moisturized, as it would have been with a traditional oil-based body scrub.
  • It smelled like I was at the bar. Should I ever try this again, I may add a drop of essential oil to cut the booze odor.
  • It is advised to perform this treatment several days in a row, which seems excessive and so drying/irritating, that it makes me want to cry a little.
THE BURNING QUESTIONS
  • By scrubbing vigorously with a treatment containing alcohol, a strong solvent that strips the skin of lipids and protective moisture, how much are we compromising our skin's natural protective lipid barrier, resulting in damage to the skin?
  • Since skin houses good bacteria, are we effectively killing them off, also, causing an upset of the natural bacterial balance of skin? 
  • Is the excessive scrubbing reaching a tipping point of over-exfoliation, thus compromising the skin's healthy balance and function?
Arguably, I am looking at this from the perspective of a skin care therapist without any actual facts or experience regarding the treatment as a wellness application. This practice has been going on since ancient times and I trust the healing foundations for it. 

But, this is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.

So overall, I'm not sure I would try this again. I would much prefer to exfoliate with a treatment that, removes unwanted dead skin cells and debris, allowing pores and skin to function optimally, while still moisturizing and protecting the skin and it's delicately balanced lipid barrier.

Would you try this treatment? Although, I would not recommend it, if you do try it or have tried it, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Yours in exfoliation,
Camille xoxo








Lavender Cocoa Kiss DIY Sugar Lip Polish

***This post contains affiliate and etsy shop links that help to support this blog. Thank you!***

With the winter's chill in full force, there are lots of dry, flaky kissers happening around here. Here is a simple, 4-ingredient lip scrub that you can whip up in seconds to exfoliate, smooth and soften your lips.



2T plus 2t organic cane sugar
2t coconut oil (melted or use liquid coconut oil)
1t cocoa butter (melted)
1 drop lavender essential oil 

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, allow to cool to room temperature and transfer to an airtight jar.

Apply to dry lips in a gentle circular motion for about 15 seconds. Wipe scrub off with a warm, damp cloth and immediately massage a bit of cocoa butter or your favorite lip balm into your lips. Treat yourself to this lip scrub weekly and use within one month.

Don't have cocoa butter or lavender oil on hand? Make a simple 2 ingredient lip polish with just the sugar and coconut oil! Add a few sprinkles of cocoa powder for an extra treat. ;)

A few tips to prevent dry, flaky lips:
  • Apply lip balm prior to going outside into the elements - every single time.
  • Look for lip balms that are rich in natural moisturizing oils and butters, as well as beeswax, which helps lips retain moisture.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Avoid the urge to lick lips when they feel dry, as this will continue the cycle of dry lips. Apply lip balm instead.
  • Apply a nourishing lip balm or lip oil, like Lip Serum No. 14, prior to bedtime to regenerate lip tissues while you sleep. 

LIP SERUM NO. 14: Lip Oil, Lip Rouge, Handmade, Natural, Artisan, Botanical, Tinted, Renewing, Lip Treatment, Herbal, Lip Tint

DIY SWEET LOVIN': Edible Chocolate Body Paint


The loviest, doviest day of the year is nearly here. Are you ready? 

Here is a quick and easy, last-minute DIY idea to kick your swoon-fest up a notch this Valentine's Day - DIY Chocolate Body Paint!

DIY Edible Chocolate Body Paint

1 oz chocolate (white, milk or dark to allow for different colors, or you can even tint white chocolate with a natural food color, like India Tree)


1 teaspoon organic coconut oil (or more to get your desired consistency)

Gently melt ingredients in a glass bowl set in a warm water bath inside of another pan (the fancy word for this is a "bain-Marie" ). Stir and use while still slightly warm (but not hot - please test the temperature before painting any body parts, for goodness sake!!!). 


Alternately, you can use 1 t or more of cocoa powder in place of the chocolate. 

You can double the recipe for more paint and any extra can be stored in a covered container and rewarmed for later use. You can even use leftovers as a moisturizing and toning face mask.

Have a super-sweet, chocolatey, sticky, love filled, ooey gooey Valentine's Day!

XOXO

:::THE PAINTED POUT::: Membership Winner & A Special Offer!

Congratulations to Sharry B. - the winner of :::THE PAINTED POUT::: 3-Month Handcrafted Lip Lovers Membership! Thank you to all of you who participated in the contest.

As a thank you to all of my blog friends, I will be offering 10% off both :::THE PAINTED  POUT::: and :::PLANT GLAMOUR BOX::: Memberships in my etsy shop between now and Monday, January 19. Just enter MEMBERSHIP10 at checkout. Ordering by the 19th will ensure that you will receive your first package in February - the Valentine's Edition. However, you can choose to join at any time.

Both THE PAINTED POUT and PLANT GLAMOUR BOX memberships allow you to try a variety of handmade, artisan botanical body care products at a price point lower than what the items would be listed for individually in my shop. All items are crafted by myself with natural ingredients to enhance your beauty and support your wellness. Some products that will be found in your surprise product shipments will be offered in the Autumn Moon Boutique, however, many will not. Members will receive these special items exclusively.

The 10% off bonus could save you up to over $20, depending on which membership you choose.

For more details about each available membership and if it is a good fit for you, please click on the image below. It will take you to that offering in the Autumn Moon Etsy Boutique:




 



















                                                                                            

In addition to handcrafted botanical surprises delivered to you, all Autumn Moon Memberships include all shipping and handling fees and sales tax for MI residents, as well, so there are no extra fees. 

Please join me in a unique way to make luxurious, pampering time for yourself. You deserve it.

Much Love,
Camille xoxo

Glycation: Why Sugar is Making Us All Wrinkly


It is no secret that excess sugar consumption can lead to health issues. But did you know that it is also a major contributing factor to aging - including premature aging of the skin - by a process called "glycation?"

What is glycation? Well, when there is too much sugar in the body, protein molecules can cross-link with sugar molecules, creating new sugar proteins (also called AGE's, ironically) that the body does not recognize.This process produces antibodies that cause inflammation in the body, resulting in accelerating the aging process. This is a very simplified description of the process, but is basically what is happening with the sugar swirling around inside you.

How does this make us wrinkly? The inflammation created by the glycation process causes inflammation in our skin. In fact, AGEs tend to affect dermal collagen and elastin, specifically - the stuff that keeps our skin youthful, supple and resilient. This results in wrinkles, skin sagging, premature aging and can also compromise skin's barrier function that regulates moisture and hydration. 

And the crazy part? It doesn't matter if it is refined sugars (like donuts and pastries) or natural sugars (like agave and honey). Glycation occurs when there is an excess of any sugars - the body doesn't discriminate.

Such a bummer. 

So what can we do to minimize this process? Here are a few general tips:
  • Omit refined foods, simple carbs, alcohol and sugar as an ingredient from your diet, to minimize the amount of sugar in your body. Many foods (like simple carbs) turn into sugar in your body after you eat them, even though they may not be sweet.
  • Use natural sugars, like honey and agave as needed, but sparingly.
  • Use stevia - a naturally sweet plant that is readily available now at your grocery - in beverages, baking and cooking. It does not cause the same response as sugar in the body and is a great alternative to artificial, sugar-free options that do scary things to the body. Here is a great post from Mountain Rose Herbs on making your own stevia extracts at home to flavor your foods
  • Look for skin care ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and calm and soothe the skin when applied, such as licorice root, aloe, jojoba, honey, seaweed, chamomile, green tea and oats.
  • Strive to include antioxidant rich foods in your diet, such as blueberries, nuts and dark, leafy greens. These antioxidants in the diet help to fight the aging process.
  • Get your Omega Fatty Acids with foods such as salmon and walnuts. The Omega Fatty Acids have also been shown to help to minimize inflammation in the body.
  • Follow a generally healthy lifestyle with plenty of rest, exercise, fresh air and love.
There are, of course, a myriad of things that contribute to premature aging - pollution, lifestyle, genetics - but minimizing sugar in your diet is one way to surely help support the health of your skin. And healthy, happy skin - our own best skin - is what it is all about. Not the airbrushed version of what we think things should look like.

On that note, one thing I would like to add, to finish this post, is that each of our faces tells a story. It carries memories of our years in our body - life's joys, sorrows and dreams. 

Every line and every crease is a part of you that makes you unique. With a society so obsessed with youth and aging, let's all take a moment to just look at ourselves in the mirror and love what we see. Touch those creases and remember all of the times you smiled at your child or pet. Remember the difficult times that you triumphed over. Remember all of the love and magic and good in the world that face has seen. 

You are beautiful.