April 26, 2009

Self Soothing

Spring got here, went into retreat, then came back as full summer. This warmth feels good for a bad cold I've been dealing with, especially now I have completely lost my voice. Decongestants dry out the throat and lead to laryngitis, and dry everything else out as well, including the skin. In this state I have not been able to really appreciate much in the way of perfume though it still gets through to me; I simply have no desire for it at the moment. I am probably missing a lot of subtle components also, as with food. When this happens, as it happens to us all from time to time, the only thing to do is as much self care as possible. Tea made of fresh ginger with honey tastes a lot like brandy and for me quiets the cough reflex more reliably than Robitussin, and also helps with the attendant sinus headache. Tiny bits of eucalyptus oil mixed into the palms with a lotion and rubbed into the arms and chest sends therapeutic fumes to the face.

The dry skin is another factor, and I am very lucky that my kind friend Leah gave me a a new product -- Argan oil. It is very light, clear, and goes on more like a serum than and oil, and sinks into the skin almost immediately. It is also used on the hair and body. Made from the nut of the Argan tree, which grows only in Morocco, the nuts are gathered and the oil is extracted by the local women who are now beginning to materially benefit by setting up as cooperatives. Earning their own money brings them social and financial independence, a rare and precious benefit for them.

Argan is exceptionally rich in natural vitamin E and fatty acids, reduces inflammation and is anti-bacterial. It seems to bring out the latent rose in the cheeks so I am not surprised that it is known for reviving the look of dull, dry skin. At the same time it works well for oily skin because it is cleansing and balances the moisture levels, and so ideal for combination skin on the face.

It is pure enough to eat and is used as a food oil in a similar manner to olive oil. Better known in Europe than in the U.S. so far, we now have Kahina "Giving Beauty", a company that has entered into fair trade practices with the Moroccan women's cooperatives, and they have also created a larger product line that uses Argan as a primary ingredient. Their products have no parabens, synthetics, or petroleum products, and they have been careful to exclude other culprits that might give you pause as you apply a product to your face. Their packaging is thoughtful and renewable and they give back 25% of profits to women's programs in the Moroccan region that produces the Argan. I hope they do well, because they are doing good and have made a beneficial beauty product you can feel good about using.

Above photo of ladies in the dry desert winds, from the Kahina web site.


chayaruchama said...

It's always wonderful to support other women both here and abroad....
Even more so, when the product delights !

Were I still in Brooklyn, you would be under my TLC.

Lucy said...

Your kind thoughts are TLC, dear I/C--

trish said...

I have recently discovered argan oil myself as a little vial of it came in the Josie Maran Earth Day Kit I got a few weeks ago. I have been liking it a lot as a nighttime moisturizer and have been thinking about buying some more, so this post is perfect! I would love to support a company where 25% of the proceeds go directly to women's organizations in the Moroccan region.

And what a gorgeous photo from the Kahina website!

Lucy said...

Hi Trish, yes 25% is an incredibly high percentage. Usually it's about 1% or at most 5% that gets given back in these kind of set ups. I love the photo too, the color and the movement, they look like lively blue wraiths!

Leah gave me her extra from a Sniffa event for which I am very grateful. It sinks into the skin quickly and well, which is sometimes a problem with oils.

Anonymous said...

I brought back some pure argan oil from a recent trip to Morocco. After reading this post I tried using it at night--and wow was that smell rough. Any suggestions on how to make it more user friendly as I love the idea of its benefits and it does absorb onto the skin very well. Thanks, Jen

Lucy said...

Wow, really, mine has no smell at all -- I wonder if it went bad? What does it smell like? It comes from a nut, which should not have a bad smell, I should think, maybe like walnut or almond...
Otherwise I might suggest putting in some beneficial essence for the skin to counteract, such as lavender, geranium or clary sage oil. Let me know how it goes-- I read online that a lot of people in Morocco sell to tourists but they sell adulterated stuff, is it possible you got an unscrupulous seller by chance?. It is used as a food oil in Europe for dressings and such, like walnut oil, so I would think they would not want to eat it if it had a bad smell. Keep me posted!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucy, thanks-I will try to add some essence to it because I really like the properties it has. I'm pretty sure I got good stuff--it was at reputable herbalist. Where I could have gone wrong is that I did not buy argan oil specifically for the face. (We also bought some for cooking but that was from a different store). The smell isn't rancid it's just "hard-to-take" nut. BTW, do you recommend just putting a few drop of essence directly in the argan or should I "dilute" the argan with something like jojoba oil? I'm new at all this stuff..thanks, Jen!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucy--sorry to post again--I just did some searching on the internet and it appears that I have "raw" argan oil which to quote one website:

"NOTE: Raw argan oil has a distinctive nutty / earthy smell that dissipates as you rub it in. However, if you have a sensitive nose, you may like to buy the above-mentioned spa quality product with aromatherapy oils instead.

So looks like I need to make my raw argan oil more appealing with some essences (on me the smell does not dissipate as mentioned above--maybe because it is on the face and right near my nose!). Would love to know how to do that. But wonder if it will lessen the effectiveness of such a great product.--Thanks, Jen

Lucy said...

Hi Jen,
I doubt adding jojoba and or essential oils would lessen the effectiveness, if anything I would expect it would add the beneficial qualities of those substances. Perhaps also consider using it as a body oil instead?
The argan oil I have is completely odorless. Next time you might like to try this brand.
I wonder if adding a little sandalwood if you have it might not blend in well with the nuttiness, and sandalwood is also good for skin (though good quality is very expensive). It sounds like your nose is very sensitive so I would dilute it into jojoba and blend in some essential oils, and try it on the body first.
I have been having a good result with it myself.
Keep me posted on how it all transpires!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucy, thanks I'll give it a try and get back to you. But I think the best bet in the future is to purchase the Kahina product you have since you get all the benefits of argan oil without the "distinctive" smell. :) Jen

Lucy said...

Right Jen, also they are so good about sharing the profits with the women who make it!

Anonymous said...

I just placed an order for the new sample pack they have listed on their blog. Working as a flight attendant, dry skin is an area I keep my eye on ( http://seeingm.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/stinking-pretty/ ). I appreciate purchasing a product that is part of a chain in consciousness that helps one be dew-ily beautiful, while also nourishing the hands that harvested the oil to begin with! Does Clarins really need any more of my green?

VERY much enjoying your blog. I gift myself little moments chosen and inspired by the picture that you have picked. I do a similar format over on the little corner of the adventure I share via blog... I enjoy knowing the reader gifts themselves an experience based on clicking the image they are drawn to.

Joys on the journey,