Blog Archives

Antibacterial Agents and Microbeads are OUT! Natural and Healthier are IN!!

Earlier this year President Obama issued a ban on all microbeads (tiny plastics that are used as an exfoliant in cosmetics products) in cosmetic formulations. The US ban is to begin taking effect between the beginning to middle of 2017. Earlier this week, the UK followed suit and issued a similar ban on all microbeads in cosmetics formulas.These little plastic beads were banned in the US and then the UK because of their propensity to end up in marine life and pollute our waters as well as endanger our marine life. Score one for a more natural, healthier way to better skincare! There are more natural, healthier and safer for our environment ingredients that can help to exfoliate our skin and keep it looking healthy! One such product is cornmeal and you will find that in our body polishes. Other great, natural exfoliants are sugar and yes, even coffee!

073A5912

Our natural body polish uses cornmeal instead of microbeads for that spa-like feel right in your own home! Our Carib Lime Body Polish was even featured in Essence’s 2016 August issue!

Then earlier this week, the US FDA announced that all companies were to remove antibacterial agents like triclosan, triclocarbon, and 17 other chemicals out of their soaps. There was no science to show that having these agents in the soaps did anything for keeping us safe and “cleaner” than just using plain soap and water. The marketing ploy that many of the larger skincare companies has been under review since 2013 and this week the US FDA finally issued the ban on these chemicals. Some of the science may even show that the prolonged use of these chemical agents may cause detrimental harm to the human body over time. Most harmful bacteria can be simply handled with plain soap and water and the mere nature of how handmade, cold processed soaps, and other similarly made soaps makes it very difficult for most of the bacteria to survive once they come into contact with a natural, handmade bar of soap and water. At itiba, we manufacture and create a healthier, safer, more natural soap that does NOT contain any of the 19 dangerous chemicals that the US FDA has recently banned.

danish soaps itiba

Our cold processed, naturally handmade soaps uses only the best natural and unrefined vegetable oils and butters to provide you with a clean, antibacterial agent free soap which is perfect for both face and body, and even hair!

Advertisements

Summer Time Fine with itiba Beauty

0131_073A0383Summer time is finally here and itiba has everything you need to maintain flawless, glowing skin in the season’s heat and be summer time fine! One of the biggest concerns for many during this steamy season is the appearance of dry skin. Being outside in the blazing sun for hours on end at the beach, in the park or doing other outdoor activities exposes the skin to the harsh elements of the sun. This can cause the skin to develop fine lines and wrinkles while appearing dehydrated, peeled, irritated and inflamed. Couple that with harsh soaps plus extra long baths & showers and you’ve got yourself a recipe for dull, dry skin. How can you avoid the appearance and annoyance that comes along with dry skin? Here are itiba’s four ways to protect and care for your skin from head to toe this summer and keep you summer time fine!

 

  1. Water Does The Body Good

When the summertime heat turns up, our bodies can become dehydrated very quickly. Who can remember to drink water throughout the day when we’re busy lounging on the beach drinking boozy beverages and sugary drinks? However, it’s important to drink plenty of water when the weather is a scorcher to ensure your skin remains hydrated and your energy levels stay high. Give your recommended 64 ounces a fun twist by infusing it with fruits and herbs like strawberries, lemon, mint, lime and cucumbers.

 

  1. Twice is Nice

Washing your face too often is another common cause for dry skin. During the summer, our bodies produce more sweat due to the increase in temperature, causing many to take more showers and wash our faces to rid ourselves of that sticky, yucky feeling that comes with 90+ degree temperatures. Wash your face only twice a day to prevent excessive drying of the skin. itiba’s Midnite Rain Body Soap is the ideal product for facial cleansing due to its detoxification capabilities. For oily and acne-prone skin, our Carib Lime Body Soap will cleanse and clear the skin without stripping it of oils.

 

  1. Cool as a Cucumber

Change up your long, hot shower routine this summer and take a 5-10 minute cool (not cold) shower instead. Hot water strips oils from the skin and the longer the shower, there’s a greater chance that your skin will lose its moisture, becoming dried out and dehydrated. Sooth and nourish dry skin with our Papaya Body Polish! Made with smoothly blended cornmeal, unrefined Shea Butter and natural oils, the luscious scent of papaya nectar will whisk your senses away to a tropical paradise while it gently exfoliates and moisturizes without drying your skin like many sugar and salt scrubs do.

 

  1. Minutes to Moisturize

Time is of the essence when it comes to moisturizing your skin. Be sure to moisturize within 3-5 minutes of taking a shower or washing your face and hands to lock in the skin’s moisture. Always pat your skin dry with a towel after washing your body, face or hands to ensure skin remains damp prior to moisturizer application. For instant relief of dry, patchy and irritated skin, get your hands on our Tranquil Sea Body Butter. Like all of our body butters, its non-greasy formula absorbs quickly into the skin while deeply conditioning and moisturizing.

 

Get your summertime fine by implementing these small changes in your routine. They will make all the difference in the quality and texture of your skin this summer, even all year round! For products rooted in Mother Earth from the teachings of our Caribbean ancestors, use itiba’s skincare line of lotions, soaps, body butters, polishes and more. Made with the natural ingredients of plant oils and butters plus no synthetic detergents or harsh chemicals, each itiba product is carefully and thoughtfully handcrafted in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Discover a new skin care with itiba, a natural skin care company, at www.itibabeauty.com!

Summer is coming…exfoliation made simple.

As part of a project that I have been working on for some months now, where I have experts in their respective fields speak to you about skin care, we are continuing our discussion on exfoliation and today I am so honored to have weighing on the subject one of our own family members, Aisha Massac, owner of Mankind Grooming For Men. She is also a Licensed Estheticians & Professional Makeup Artist based in Washington, DC. So sit back and enjoy the read on exfoliation 🙂 and Thank you Aisha Massac!

Exfoliation made simple

 

What is exfoliation? Exfoliation is the removal of surface dead skin cells, with the ultimate goal being to clear debris and free the retired cells to allow for better absorption, circulation, and brighten dull skin by promoting skin renewal. 

 

These dead skin cells, left on the surface, slow down healthy cell renewal, increase the depth of wrinkles and create a dull, sluggish appearance. The more you effectively exfoliate, the younger the skin looks and the better your skin care products can penetrate the skin.

 

However, too much exfoliation can cause redness and skin sensitivity. You should exfoliate no more than three days per week, as to not cause irritation or sensitive skin. If you already have sensitive skin as well as skin that easily hyperpigments, I would not recommend exfoliating since it can make your skin more sensitive and hurt your skin barrier. If you just HAVE to exfoliate (even outside of my recommendation), use an emollient based exfoliant and ONLY once a week; a light AHA would be a great option being that it’s moisturizing. A great option would be Dr. Perricone’s Advanced Face Firming Activator.

There are two types of exfoliation methods:

PHYSICAL

The most common form of exfoliation is physical exfoliation, which is mechanically removing superficial layers of the skin. This can be done with a face loofah, brush, washcloth, or with exfoliating cleansers. Mechanical exfoliators that utilize abrasive agents with sharp edges actually scrape and cut the skin. Abrasive agents such as apricot seeds (St. Ives being the most popular), granulated peach kernels, corn cob, silica, walnut shells and sugar instituted a major following in the ‘80s, followed by brushes, sponges, and loofahs. These all resulted in pulled, torn, stretched, abraded and traumatized skin that was covered with microlesions. Microlesions can lead to bacterial invasion, further leading to acne and/or wrinkles. Better options for physical or mechanical exfoliation are the Clarisonic skin brush and/or home microdermabrasion device (using aluminum oxide crystals). The Clarisonic has different skin brushes for different types of skin (Acne, Sensitive, Normal), and it allows you to adjust intensity for light or deep cleansing, and to avoid irritation. Other than the clarisonic, a mild exfoliating scrub is a great way to go to get a refreshed and clean look to the skin. An option for a more mild mechanical exfoliant would be almond meal, corn meal, or even baking soda, which can be added to your cleanser.

073A5908

A gentle and mild exfoliant, like corn meal, can be found in itiba’s body polishes. Great for getting your skin ready for summer!

  A professional mechanical exfoliant favorite of mine is the Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, which uses a rice-based enzyme powder, that when mixed with water, activates the papain and salicylic acid. 

CHEMICAL

Chemical exfoliation, in essence, dissolves the “glue” that binds the dead skin cells together. Chemical exfoliation involves applying products containing a form of alpha hydroxy acid and/or beta hydroxy acid that dissolve this “glue” around the skin cells, hastening the shedding of several layers of the epidermis. Estheticians throughout the world have long preferred enzymes for exfoliation such as pineapple, papaya and pumpkin, typically found in a mask form, to exfoliate the skin. These enzymes are natural forms of AHAs. My favorite type of chemical exfoliation is enzyme exfoliating products over the AHA’s and BHA’s. I absolutely love June Jacobs Perfect Pumpkin Peeling Enzyme Masque. I also love Jan Marini’s SkinZyme Papaya Mask. Other popular chemical exfoliation methods, found in the skincare world are retinoids. Retinoids are in the same family of Vitamin A and is used to treat some forms of acne, aging, and even psoriasis. Although retinoids can cause flaking, they don’t typically cause dryness – this flaking is the sloughing off of dead cells. Retinoids are also known to cause irritation or sensitivity and must at all times be used with caution in sunlight. *Note: look for retinoids that are encapsulated.Regular use of alpha- or beta- hydroxy products or clay-based masks is of utmost importance to help reduce breakouts and remove dead skin buildup that could clog pores. These are among the most effective exfoliating ingredients. Because AHAs are water-soluble, they can penetrate deeper into the skin’s surface to lift the dead cells. However, caution must be given as they may irritate sensitive skin if used in too high a concentration. On the other hand, BHA (or salicylic acid) is fat-soluble, and doesn’t penetrate below the epidermis. 

**Note: If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition, such as rosacea, eczema, seborrhea, or dermatitis, you may want to consult your doctor or dermatologist to find the most effective exfoliating method for your skin type.

**Note: Do NOT use products that contain more than one of the above in one product

To exfoliate: 

1. Wash your face

2. Take medium to large amount of exfoliant (about the size of a dime to a nickel) and gently apply to damp skin. 

3. Massage the exfoliant over your skin. Never press into your skin – you are not sanding wood! Avoid your eye area, as this is a delicate area.

4. Use a washcloth or damp cloth to wipe clean with warm water

5. Apply your moisturizers and serums. 

 

Written By: Aisha Massac, Licensed Esthetician & Professional Makeup Artist based in Washington, DC

The Weather vs. Your Skin

The Weather vs. Your Skin– The weather can play a significant role in the health of your skin. Take the time to nourish, moisturize, and cleanse your skin. Poor skin care combined with extreme weather conditions can cause premature aging, skin rashes, discoloration, enhance already existing skin conditions, and more. Be sure to replenish your skin with the essential oils it needs and don’t forget to pay attention to your hair too! Check out our hair and body serums at https://itibabeauty.com/product-category/hair-body-serums/

My Day of Experimentation :-)

Decided to take some ME time today. Always a good thing to just let the world function without you for a minute. All the problems and chaos will still be there tomorrow. Anyway, I saw on FB with this group I am on, Texture Me Natural, a post about Rhassoul Clay and Hair Mask. I read with interest and thought, this is something I should try! Let me warn you though, doing a hair mask is messy…but so much FUN!

Ok. So I decided from the night before that I would make the time to do the hair mask today. I wear my hair in locs and I have been contemplating creating a hair care line for years now. I did with my previous company and I have been tinkering around with it with itiba. (I currently do a private label for a local natural hair salon hair) so I figured, why not try this out. No worries, I can fashion something else quite quickly. What did I have on hand…let’s see…I have Moroccan Red Clay (which by the way is the same as Rhassoul Clay fancy that), Kaolin Clay, Activated Charcoal, my supply of lovely essential oils and carrier oils. OK, I can begin to formulate! I mixed my special brew of esesntial oils and carrier oils: Baobob oil, Turmeric Essential oil (YES, there is an essential oil distilled from the root), Lavandin essential oil, Peppermint essential oil (I think EVERY hair care product should have this in some quantity, it sure wakens the scalp!), Lemongrass Essential Oil and Clove Essential Oil. Then I mixed my Moroccan Red Clay, the Kaolin Clay and Activated Charcoal in a separate bowl. Then I mixed in some ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) the Baobob oil mixture, olive squalene and enough water to hydrate and make it thick like batter. Of course it took a while cause I wanted to make sure that all the clays and charcoal were thoroughly mixed. Covered with Saran Wrap and left it in the oven for 20 minutes (only to warm the mixture – my oven has a pilot light so that was heat enough). Then I applied to my hair and left on for about 20 minutes to a half hour. It was messy but fun!

Next came the interesting part…rinsing this mask out of my hair, especially with locs. It took a while and about 4 shampoos, but I finally got it all out! Conditioned, rinsed and that was it! When I looked at my head of hair in the mirror I wondered if the greys that were making a guest appearance would still be there. They were, but they were not as shiny as they were before. And my hair was BRILLIANT! It looked so shiny and healthy! I was amazed and now TOTALLY SOLD on the idea of hair masks. Of course my shower wasn’t, but that is another story, LOL! One thing I want to make sure I emphasize (especially since my daughter is a cosmetologist and would KILL me if I did not make mention) make sure you have warm water to rinse the mask out of the hair. Try doing an alternate between warm and cold water, especially when rinsing the hair. The warm water helps to open the pores while the cold closes them and the hair cuticle as well. It also helps with stimulating the scalp (of course the Peppermint Essential Oil will also aid in that just fine as well, LOL!).

I am sorry there are no pics this time, but the next time I do the mixture, I will be sure to do a video so that you can see the process from beginning to end. So, are you going to try a hair mask also?

What is an itiba woman?

The itiba woman is a natural woman, a caring woman. Not necessarily a mother in the literal sense, but nurturing to herself and to others. Her beauty is apparent not because of her features, but because she just radiates beauty with her smile, her actions. She is sexy and sensual.  An itiba woman is a strong, intelligent woman. An itiba woman is confident in her skin, yet versatile to wear any skin she finds ;-).

An itiba woman is A NATURAL BEAUTY (as we all are, thank you Etta-Lee)! An itiba woman is each and every one of us who welcomes the joys of being a woman and welcomes the challenges because we know we can turn them into triumphs! An itiba woman is

Strong

Graceful

Beauty

Fierce

Loyal

Intelligent

Loving

Sensual

Nurturing

Versatile

Powerful

She radiates

Light

Love

Peace

Beauty

Strength

An itiba woman is in each and everyone of us. When we look in the mirror she smiles back at us and tells us we can do it. She loves being a woman and enjoys her strengths and weaknesses. She knows how to turn those weaknesses into strengths!

She is you and she is me.

She is…Nature. She is…Earth. She is…Beauty!

Honey…have some honey :-)

honey stock photo

“Honey is made up from fructose, glucose, water and other sugars. It also contains many enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body needs. Honey contains many antioxidants that are used by the body to eliminate free radicals – molecules which zip around in healthy cells and have the potential to damage them. Honey therefore makes a good alternative to sugar in food and drink. Care must be taken though, as honey does contain lots of sugars and it must be eaten in moderation. Sugars should not generally represent more than 10 percent of your total calorie intake.” (www.bupa.co.uk)

We are lucky to have here on island (St. Croix, US Virgin Islands) a rich and abundant supply of honey made from our local flowers, fruit trees and plants. Honey has been used since ancient times for everything from food to healing. And the best type of honey to consume or use is the honey that is harvested from where you live around your community. There have been stories of honey being used to heal wounds and infections that modern antibiotics could not heal. For the most part, if there is a moist wound, or a malodorous wound that is not healing, then chances are applying some unfiltered, un-heated honey will help to heal that wound.

When honey comes into contact with the skin it makes hydrogen peroxide. Glucose oxidase, introduced by the bees, is the enzyme that helps to produce this reaction of honey and the skin. This is the main antibacterial agent within honey that helps with its miraculous wound healing property. Because it is high in sugars and very acidic, as well as being low in proteins, it does not allow for contaminants to grow within the honey and also helps with its antibacterial properties.

“It is a common observation in medical journal reports that numerous benefits result from using honey to dress wounds:

* The viscosity of honey provides a protective barrier to prevent wounds becoming infected.
* Honey creates a moist healing environment that allows skin cells to regrow across a healing wound flush with the surface of the wound, preventing deformity of the skin. (If a dry scab forms on a wound, the skin cells can only grow across the wound deeper down where it is moist.)
* Honey causes scabs and dead cells to lift off the surface of the wound, leaving a clean healthy wound bed in which regrowth of tissue can occur.
* Honey stimulates the regrowth of tissue involved in the healing process. It stimulates the formation of new blood capillaries and the growth of fibroblasts that replace the connective tissue of the deeper layer of the skin and produce the collagen fibers that give strength to the repair. In addition, honey stimulates the growth of epithelial cells that form the new skin cover over a healed wound. Honey thus prevents scarring and keloid formation, and removes the need for skin grafting even with quite large wounds.
* Honey does not stick to the underlying wound tissues, so there is no tearing away of newly formed tissue, and no pain, when dressings are changed.
* Honey has an anti-inflammatory action, which reduces the swelling around a wound. This improves circulation and thus hastens the healing process. It also reduces pain. The amount of fluid exuding from wounds is also decreased by the anti-inflammatory action.
* The high sugar content of honey draws lymph out of a wound, which lifts dirt out of the wound bed.
* Honey prevents the odor that is commonly associated with serious wounds and skin ulcers, by clearing bacterial infection, and more immediately, by providing sugar to any bacteria present. In this environment, lactic acid is produced instead of the smelly byproducts of the degradation of protein.
* Honey rapidly clears infection from wounds. It is fully effective even with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Unlike antiseptics and antibiotics, there is no impairment of the healing process through adverse effects on wound tissues. ” (www.sdearthtimes.com)

Locally, we have used honey when we have sore throats or a cough that is irritating, or even when we have a bit of a chest congestion. Your mother would have told you to go get a lime from the tree and mix it with some honey. The Vitamin C in the lime blended with the soothing, coating honey made us all feel a little better, plus it tasted good so we didn’t mind taking our medicine so much 🙂

There are so many wonderful uses for honey both internally and externally and this is one topic that we will be visiting more than once as we explore honey.

Resources:
http://www.honeyo.com/honeyhealing.shtml
http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/minerals/health-benefits-of-minerals.html
http://www.honeyassociation.com/healthbe.htm
http://www.bupa.co.uk/health_information/asp/healthy_living/lifestyle/diet/honey/
http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0100/et0100s17.html

Seven Steps To Healthy, Glowing, Vibrant Skin…Naturally!

Our skin is the LARGEST organ of the human body! The primary function of the skin is to eliminate wastes. If treated properly, the skin can eliminate upwards of TWO POUNDS of waste daily! Everyday our skin sheds the dead skin cells and makes new skin cells. Within 24 hours, our body has made new skin! Keeping our skin looking healthy, all depends on how we help our skin in its daily routine of sloughing away dead skin cells and allowing the new skin cells to come through. There are several ways that we can help our body and skin remain at peak performance. They are:

Gentle, Caribbean Cleansing

Cleansing – This is done with a simple soap and water. Before you can move onto the toning and moisturizing you MUST get rid of all the extra dirt you have accumulated throughout the day AND night. itiba has many soaps that can be used to aid in the cleansing of your skin. I recommend Carib Lime if you have oily skin. The Lemongrass Essential Oil contained in the soap helps the skin to regulate the sebum produced. That combined with the French Green Clay works to break up the excess oil and leave your skin feeling lighter and brighter! For normal skin, Island Rose or even Papaya will work wonderfully. For combination skin, MidNite Rain, Crucian Spice or Sea Lavender are all wonderful choices.

Toner/Astringents – these are the same thing but a different name applies to your skin type. Astringents and Toners help to take away excess oils from the skin, in particular the neck and face. Toner is the term used for products for skin that is in the normal to dry range. Astringent is the term used for skin that is in the normal to oily and oil skin range. The astringent is stronger than the toner because it has to break away more oils from the skin than the toner.

Crucian Spice Body Lotion.

Moisturizing – is done after we clean our skin. This step is done after we have applied either our toner or astringent to our skin. Even if you have oily skin, you will still want to moisturize it. When moisturizing the skin, stay away from products that will clog the pores such as mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and yes even cocoa butter for some people. If you suffer from oily skin, it is recommended NOT to use cocoa butter on the face and neck. However, a wonderful oil to use, yes…I did say oil…is Jojoba Oil. In fact, Jojoba Oil is really a liquid wax and pound for pound, can be called the Fountain of Youth for our skin. Jojoba Oil is the only vegetable oil that very closely resembles the sebum that our skin produces. I like to call it a second skin that helps our own skin do its job better.  I am not a fan of mineral oil as I do not see the long term benefits of this oil. In some cases, it has been stated that mineral oil can cause clogged pores and dermatitis. There is the cosmetic grade mineral oil that is used in skin care, but there are other wonderful oils like Castor Oil that can do the same and offer better benefits to the skin. Any of itiba’s six lovely fragrance body lotions will make a wonderful moiturizer.

Hydration – very simple! Our bodies are made up of about 75% water. We need to keep our skin hydrated from the INSIDE as well as the OUTSIDE. Our skin looses upwards of 2 PINTS of water daily. We need to drink upwards of one gallon of water daily in order to maintain optimal hydration for our bodies.Water does a body good!

Exfoliation – In order for our skin to shed the dead skin cells easier, some type of exfoliation should be done. There are several ways this can be done and depending on the part of body different materials should be used. Using a salt or brown sugar scrub is a great way to exfoliate the body. Ground oatmeal, almond meal, even ground avocado seeds can be used to exfoliate the skin. Ground oatmeal, almond meal, and sugar can be used on the face and neck. But beware, the skin on these areas is delicate, do not use too much force or friction. Slow and gentle is all you need when exfoliating your face and neck. Another method is DRY BRUSHING. This offers more than exfoliation; it also offers increased circulation to the skin and in certain instances a healthier lymphatic system. itiba’s Body Polish all made with Caribbean Sea Salt, unrefined Shea butter and scented with itiba’s unique blends, to include the latest Kaya Body Polish – made with brown sugar, local island honey and decadent Shea butter, are all great exfoliators. AND you get the extra added benefit of moisturizing with the Shea butter!

REST! – I think this is self-explanatory. Get your 8 – 9  hours of sleep each night. Nothing less. Your skin (and every one else) will thank you for it! Come to St. Croix and relax on any of the wonderful sandy beaches and enjoy the cool Tradewinds as it wafts off the azure blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. String up your hammock and simply…rest!

I would be remiss if I did not talk about DRY BRUSHING. What is Dry Brushing and what are the benefits? How should it be done? First Dry Brushing is a form of exfoliation. It helps the skin remove the dead skin cells so that the new ones may shine through. Dry Brushing, if done properly and consistently will also help to keep the skin properly eliminating the waste. There are many different ways to do the actual dry brushing, but a few things are constant and NEVER change. ALWAYS and ONLY use NATURAL bristle brushes. What are natural bristle brushes? These are made from either plant or animals. Depending on the type or bristle, you will use it on different areas of the body. Some examples of natural bristle brushes are boar’s hair, ayate – which is made from a large cactus called agave whose leaves are dried and made into fibers – sisal, and even coconut.  NEVER SCRUB when doing a dry brush. That can be considered overkill and both are forms of exfoliation. Either you dry brush or you use a scrub. You must use some pressure, but never scrub the skin.

Here are some of the benefits of Dry Brushing:

• Brushing activates the pores in the skin to remove more waste materials like uric acid crystals, catarrh, and other acids and impurities more efficiently than soap and water.

• Brushing increases and stimulates blood circulation in all the underlying organs, connective tissues and lymphatic system.

• Brushing revitalizes and increases the capacity of the skin to eliminate toxins from the system.

• Brushing stimulates hormone function – especially the oil producing glands. By keeping the pores open, the skin is better able to retain its natural oils and to breathe!

• Brushing has a powerful rejuvenating influence on the nervous system as it stimulates the nerve endings in the skin.

• Brushing contributes to better muscle tone and better distribution of fat deposits within the tissues.

And it just makes you feel good! 🙂

When I Dry Brush, which should be done at least three times a week, I start from my hands and work in slow, deliberate circular motions toward my heart. I am trying to follow the pathways of the Lymph System. I do the same with my feet. I start from teh soles of my feet and slowly work up in a slow, deliberate, circular motion (circular to the left) towards my heart. I keep doing this until I am doing with a fair amount of pressure. When finished, my skin is glowing and I am feeling so alive and refreshed!  ALWAYS do your Dry Brushing BEFORE your shower or bath. Remember, this is a form of exfoliation and you have just released a lot of dead skin cells that you now want to get rid of and cleansing the skin afterwards is the best way to do so. Dry Brushing is ONLY effective when done on DRY skin.

You now know my seven steps and secret weapon to having healthy, glowing skin.

Nature. Earth. Beauty.

Scent soothes the savage beast…

They say that music soothes the savage beast. Well…I beg to differ. I think it is scent! Fragrance. Our nose! I mean, of course music helps, but I think scent does a way better job at it than music.

I am sitting here listening to Luther Vandross croon away, but what has really gotten my attention and beginning to help me unwind and not go completely crazy as I hear my young ones beginning another argument in the background, is…a scent. I sit here and I am trying to identify the sharp, somewhat woodsy fragrance that my nose has sniffed out. I can make the out the cool, calming aroma of Lavandin. The heady fragrance of Ylang Ylang transporting me to Carambola and then reminding me of a walk where I smelled this sultry fragrance on the wind. That memory experience coupled with the soothe, sweet voice of Donnell Jones is quickly making me forget the fact that I have to quiet another argument between a seven year old and a ten year old. They will work it out. It was a discussion over a television show that is quickly forgotten.

My mind drifts back to the fragrance that I am struggling to identify, and as the R&B plays in the background, another memory experience overcomes my senses and I am transported back to a rough and winding road in the Rain Forest. The trees are so green, it is late afternoon and the cool breeze is gently caressing my face. I look to my right and I am enjoying a quiet excursion with my late husband. He is showing me bird pepper and is quickly telling me in Spanish to stop the car so he can go and pick some!

“Mai! I going to make a pepper sauce with this!” He says his eyes bright with discovery and already tasting the heat the pepper is promising him. “Why you like to go and damage yourself like that for?” I question, because I know he is just going to be crying when he tastes the pepper and it does just that, burn his mouth so badly that he swears NEVER “NUNCA” to eat the pepper sauce again! Of course that lasts all of five minutes and he is back at the bottle again! Wonderful memories that fragrance has forever trapped in the deepest recesses of my mind. All it will take is just a slight whiff of a certain fragrance and all the memories come flooding back.

Good times. Another aroma has just crossed my path. And now there is a new scent I am trying to identify. One was definitely a floral fragrance of some sort. This one smells like a mix of fruit and green. Another flash of memory. I am nine and running in the yard playing with my younger sisters. The gooseberry tree is calling to us and we clamor and race to be the first ones to the top of that very shaky tree! It is amazing the risks you take as a child. Thinking back now I wonder how I never fell from the top of that tree! At least 12 feet high and the higher you went the thinner and more fragile the tree was. But that didn’t stop me nor my sisters from racing, climbing, scraping our knees as we raced to the top to eat the ripe gooseberries. The most sour…tart…DELICIOUS fruit you have ever tasted. We are already arguing who is going to make the gooseberry stew. “Me!” I yell, “No, I going to make it!” yells my younger sister. And my other sister says “I have ALL the big ones so I will make it!” That wonderful fragrance of tree sap and gooseberry juice. Memories of a time when life was truly good and you had not one care in the world.

Sitting here listening to the music helps to calm the body and begin to put me in a relaxing state, but it is the fragrance that transports my mind to another time. Vetiver! That is what I am smelling. And immediately another fragrance memory comes to the forefront. Again, to a more personal, private time with my husband. Remembering his face, his voice, his strength. His love was what so amazed me. And now it is what helps to give me strength to carry on while he watches from the heavens. The Haitian Vetiver is such a seductive, alluring, almost mystical scent. Peaceful. Strong. Beautiful. Full of life, promise…love. The fragrance memories move closer to the present as the pain of loosing him emerges. Reminding me of the dark time, but there was still the presence of him there…although never to be touched again by him…there all the same. The Haitian Vetiver always reminds me that though we are strong creatures meant to do many unbelievable things…we are also very fragile and we must remember to always hold close and treasure the moments that bring us joy.

Ylang Ylang. That exotic fragrance always reminds me of adventure. Of a promise of something just around the corner. It reminds me of life! Of love! Of my children, who are my strength. Of the promise of new love…which I have now. Lavender. Calming. Relaxing. The smells of Mango always brings back the memories of youth, of adventure, of mystery and daring. Each fragrance forever locked in its own special place deep within me. Sometimes…when I least expect it…a scent will just transport me to a time gone by and I can see all that was and what will be. The music helps, I will give it that. But for me…it is scent that soothes the savage beast.