The Kitchen Sink Spa Files: A Turmeric Chai + DIY Turmeric Chair Cleanser

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The mug really is as big as it looks… my mugs are bowl sized!

So let me explain the black stuff all over my face. Some of us are blessed with the ability to attract biting insects. Some people attract mosquitoes, so while every one is swatting occasionally at a buzzing bastard, they are smacking themselves like crazy, screaming “I AM BEING EATEN ALIVE!!!!!” Other people attract gnats, and a few unfortunate souls attract flies. I attract spiders. I HATE spiders.

I didn’t always hate them- I grew up with “Charlotte’s Web”, and as a small child, I thought EVERY spider was Charlotte, and wouldn’t let my mom kill them. And then I got my first spider bit. I hated spiders ever since. I understand that they are beneficial for keeping pests out of gardens, but they need to stay the F*** out of my home. Yesterday, I woke up with two spider bites above my eye. Great, big, red, swollen itchy bumps of archid hatred.

My normal course of action is to smear black salve all over them until the swelling goes down. Normally these bites are on my foot, or my arm, so it’s not particularly noticeable. But the S.O.B.’s bit my FACE. And let me just say, I PITY the next spider I see, because I am going reap a retribution upon the likes of which the world has never seen.

There is one up side to these bites- it’s the perfect excuse to drink Turmeric Chai by the gallon. If you haven’t had a chance to read our WTF spotlight on it yet, you can give it a quick skim HERE.

Clearly my camera skills could use some work…

One of my favorite drinks is a big soup-sized mug of turmeric chai, but I don’t often have an excuse to binge on it. As far as chai’s go, it’s warm, it’s invigorating, and it doesn’t came loaded with caffeine like traditional chai made with black tea, so I can drink it before bed without worrying that I’ll be wide awake for a few extra hours. Big bonus. Plus, the strained spice blend makes a nice face wash for my seriously sad looking skin. You can make the chai with a milk substitute like almond or soy milks… but it won’t have the exact same skin properties. Say what you will about dairy- it’s really awesome on your face!

Also, I really love spice. SO if you know that you can’t do really spicy things, you may want to dial back the amount of black papper that the recipe calls for- I made it to have a little bite. No belated pun intended.

SPICE FOR LIFE!!!

TURMERIC CHAI SPICE BLEND

1 Tbs ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 generous pinch ground clove
2 green cardamom pods

TO MAKE THE CHAI:

1. Mix the spice blend in a sauce pot with 1.5 c. milk (or milk substitute)

It may look like your spices aren’t doing a good job of mixing in with the milk. Don’t worry, we are going to strain them out any way!

2. Over low heat, gently heat up the mixture until it gives off steam. Remove from heat and cover with a lid for 5-10 minutes

This step will make your chai extra bright and extra spicy!!

3. Strain the mixture through fine mesh coffee filter or a piece of paper towel folded into a cone.

Using a standard size strainer will let a lot of the ground spices though, so you want something really fine like this.

4. Add honey to taste.

A bowl of happy delicious yellow chai!

5. ENJOY!!! And also don’t throw out your strained spice mix yet!

See all that sludge? That’s going to be your face wash, so don’t chuck it!!

TO USE CHAI FACE WASH:

  1. Discard the cardamom pods.
  2. Massage spice blend into face and neck with clean hands for 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water to thin it out.
  3. Rinse face well with warm water, pat dry, and follow with your favorite moisturizer.

And there you have it, a recipe for a delicious and sunny beverage AND a face wash to give your skin some glow, all in one simple recipe!

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The (Much Delayed) Kitchen Sink Spa Files: DIY Milk & Honey Face Wash

There are A LOT of formulas in my Raw Spa arsenal, and sadly, many of my favorite products are just for house use, like this creamy cleanser. So why not share a little love while we all wait impatiently for spring to swing into gear, am I right?

Don’t let the name fool you- oats are the real star of the show here, helping to calm, condition, and soften dry skin! If you missed out on why oats are so awesome, you can check out the blog post HERE.

This was one of the first things I ever mixed together on my own, and while I’ve played around with the idea of bringing them to the store and farmers market, it’s just so incredibly simple, I figured I’d just share the recipe with you, to make at home. It makes a pretty big batch, so if you are just using it on your face, I’d recommend storing it in a jar.

Honestly, I like to use it once or twice a week as a whole body wash, especially in the drier weather. The honey helps to deeply hydrate your skin, the oats calm irritation and help condition the skin, and the powdered milk adds just a little bit of extra exfoliation. You can substitute the dried milk with finely milled nuts or sunflower seeds!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 c. honey (I’m a sucker for Swarmbustin’ Honey)

1/4 c. whole oats (see NOTE)

2 Tbs. powdered milk

 

DIRECTIONS
1. Using a spice grinder (or, if you are looking for a hard core arm work out, grab a mortar and pestle), finely grind the oats. NOTE: different oats will grind up to different textures. Any rolled oats will work for this recipe, but we used locally grown Morganics oats, which a rolled super thin, and grind up to a very silky powder.)

2. Combine the oat flower with the powdered milk and honey. Stir slowly to incorporate the ingredients. If it becomes to thick to stir, use your hands to work it into a well blended mass!

3. Scrape it into an air tight container. As long as you keep water out of the container, it will pretty much keep indefinitely… all though the honey may crystallize over time. You can also roll the paste into little single serving face bonbons! I used a teaspoon to scoop them out.

 

TO USE:
-Mix a large pinch of cleanser (or one face bonbon!) in your hand, with a little water, to make a creamy gel texture.

-Massage the cleanser into your face and neck. You can let it sit for a minute or two as a mask!

-Rinse well with warm water, and pat dry.

All done!! I recommend following this up with your favorite moisturizer, to keep your skin feeling great!

Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

WTF is…Oats?! (Version 2.0)

We decided it was time to update our oats post, because as we have a grown, so too has our research… and it turns out that oats are way more awesome than we thought they were!! Oats are great for helping your skin fight off the harsh conditions of winter (or cooked with milk and a heaping pile of brown sugar dumped on top!). So grab your grains and hunker down. It’s time to talk oats… again!

Mmmm-mmm! Good inside and out! Photo via freefoodphotos.com

Before the simple oat (Avena sativa) was recognized as the grain we all know and love (with brown sugar), it was considered a weed. In fact the term ‘sewing wild oats’ is a reference to the rampant and widespread growth that oats were once known for. However after it was domesticated, oats became a staple in many peoples diet, even to this day! In Scotland oats are still held in high esteem and are a mainstay of the national diet. In Britain oats are sometimes used for brewing beer. Even here in America, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s never heard of good old fashioned oatmeal (with brown sugar- ALL the brown sugar).

Oats

This is what oats look like before they go into your oatmeal! Photo via commons.wikimedia.org

Not only are oats a great source of energy, but they’re also good for your skin too (but leave out the brown sugar if your going to be smacking oats on your face… apparently brown sugar doesn’t go with EVERYTHING.) Oats are great for gentle exfoliation, as they soften with water, but they are more than just an killer scrub for sensitive skin!

Cleopatra Salt Bar

The Cleopatra Salt Bar is a gentle soap for dry and sensitive skin, loaded to the gills with finely milled oats and local honey… try not to eat it!

Oats also contain a whole host of phytochemicals that make them absolute rock stars for skin, including saponins, which help to gently remove dirt and oil from your pores; polysaccharides, which become gelatinous in water and leave a protective residue on the skin preventing further damage; flavonoids and silicic acid to intensely soothe skin irritation, agitation and redness; Vitamin A to rejuvenate your skin; and Vitamin B to help hydrate your skin while also making it feel softer and smoother! Calming, moisturizing, exfoliating. What else can we say but: Bring on the oats!

Morganics Oats

It doesn’t get any fresher than local farms! We adore our oats supplier, Moraganics Family Farms! Photo via www.morganicsfamilyfarm.com

When it comes to our oats, we’re pretty proud to say that our oats come from a local farm, Morganics Family Farm (you can find out more about them on their website ). Located in Hillsborough, New Jersey, this family run operation grows the best oats ever. Seriously. THE BEST. Plus we think it’s pretty cool to be able to so drastically reduce our carbon foot print with such a ubiquitous ingredient. You can grab Morganics oats in Philly at the Headhouse Farmers Markets on Sundays (If Mack doesn’t beat you to it and buy them all…).

Cleopatra Bath Cupcake

We always seem to have issues convincing people that this oat-packed Cleopatra Bath Cupcake goes in your tub, not your stomach!

We use oats in all their many forms, from the rich oat milk that we swirl into Skin Parfaits, and the milky oat tops that we infuse into Skin Tonics, to the ground oats the we pack into our shower bars and bath confections! if you’re rocking some seriously dry skin, you’ll be happy to know that oats reign supreme in the Cleopatra line up, which you can find here: https://www.therawspa.net/jewel-of-the-nile

Cleopatra Skin Parfait

It’s creamy, it’s dreamy and it’s packed with fresh oat milk, made with local Morganics Oats and a little patience! The Cleopatra Skin Parfait is a boon for those wrestling with dry or sensitive skin!

If you’re wondering how you can start rocking the oats right now, we’ll have a post up later this week with one of Mack’s super special house specialties, the Milk & Honey Face Wash! Don’t let the name fool you- oats are the star of the show! 🙂

So, what do you think? They’re a little more awesome than you thought, right?

 

 

WTF is… Marshmallow Root?!

Before you say anything, no you have not stepped into candy land. There are no gumball trees or lollipop bushes. The world is not like that scene in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  I know, I know, my dreams are crushed too. But don’t get too down. It may not be what it says on the tin but marshmallow root is actually a pretty sweet plant.

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Why aren’t you candy?! WHY?! Image via en.wikipedia.org

Let’s just get this out of the way first. Yes, marshmallows can, and in some places still do, come from marshmallow root. In fact the use of the marshmallow plant, also known Althaea, to create sweet dates goes as far back as ancient Egypt. But the marshmallow plants use in sweets is not it’s claim to fame. Marshmallow root has been used throughout history as a medicine. It’s even in the name of it’s genus, Althaea, which comes from the Greek word “to heal”.

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Does look like an age old healing agent, amirite? Image via en.wikipedia.org

Medicinally marshmallow root has been used as an anti-inflammatory as well as a herbal remedy for respiratory problems. It’s medicinal properties come from a substance in it’s roots and leaves called mucilage. When mixed with water it forms a slick gel that is used for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.

We here at The Raw Spa try to take advantage of this age old medicine in our Aftercare bath cupcakes, bath salts and exfoliant bars from the Erotica Sensualis line. Utilizing other naturally soothing ingredients such as mango butter, and oats, our product will care for you skin with sweet and loving tenderness.

You can find all of the products with  marshmallow root HERE!

Hey guys and gals! If you like our posts, our products or just like us in general you should support The Raw Spa on Patreon here!

Feel free to check out our store here!

Keep your eyes peeled for the flash sale coming later this week!

WTF is…Oats?!

Winter is coming everyone! It’s time to grab your stuff and gear up! Gloves? Cheek! Coat! Check! Oats! Check? Thats right folks it’s time to grab your oats as the weather gets colder and not just for making delicious oatmeal (with brown sugar). Oats are great for helping your skin fight off the harsh conditions of winter. So grab your grains and hunker down. It’s time to talk oats!

Mmmm-mmm! Good inside and out! Photo via freefoodphotos.com

Before oats was recognized as the grain we all know and love (with brown sugar), it was considered a weed. In fact the term ‘sewing wild oats’ is a reference to the rampant and widespread growth that oats were once known for. However after it was domesticated, oats became a staple in many peoples diet, even to this day! In Scotland oats are still held in high esteem and are a mainstay of the national diet. In briatin oats are sometimes used for brewing beer. Even here in america, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s never heard of good old fashoned oatmeal (with brown sugar).

Oats

This is what oats look like before they go into your oatmeal! Photo via commons.wikimedia.org

Not only are oats a great source of energy, but they’re also good for your skin too (but leave out the brown sugar.) Oats are great for exfoliation as the saposins help to gently remove dirt and oil from your pores. And oats also contain polysaccharides which become gelatenous in water and leave a protective residue on the skin preventing further damage. Anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, exfoliating. What else can we say but: Bring on the oats!

If your looking for oats in our products look no further than Nefertiti and Cleopatra from the Jewel of the Nile line. Also all our After Care products from the Erotica Sensualis line contain oats. And as an added bonus we’re using oats in our Candy Man and Pumpkinhead products from the seasonal Things That Go Bump! line. Speaking of Things That Go Bump, this is the last week that the Halloween line will be available before the monsters and creepy crawlies go south for the winter!

Visit our store Here!

Check out our sale of the week Here!

WTF is… Honey?

Honey. What is not to love about honey? It has a pleasingly sweet taste and aroma. We use it in food, drink, and alchohol. Shoot, in america we go so far as to call loved ones by the nickname “Honey”. Honey even has a kind of cult status in the DIY natural health community, supposedly having the ability to help heal wounds and serve as a preservative. While we recommend you comb through the facts yourself, we here at the Raw Spa will give you just a tiny scoop (okay I’ll stop now).

Good old fashioned honey! Image via beesproducts.eu

Good old fashioned honey! Image via beesproducts.eu

To lets start from the basics. Honey is a thick substance created from nectar, mainly by honey bees of the genus Apis. For the sake of simplicity I’m going to call them honey bees… but they are, interestingly enough, not all bees. The honey bees collect nectar from various flora, convert it into honey through a method of partial digestion, and store it in a wax matrix (the honey comb) as a food source. Speaking of food source, honey is NOT especially nutritious all by itself. In fact honey is mainly devoid of essential nutrients, and contains only trace amounts of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Honey: Put a lot on you, not so much in you. Image via www.modachicago.com

Honey: Put a lot on you, not so much in you. Image via http://www.modachicago.com

Now just because it’s not all that great for you inside does not mean it’s bad for you outside. It DOES contain ferulic acid and caffeic acid. Ferulic acid is a wonderful anti-oxidant and helps to moisturize skin, while caffeic acid offers both antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties. So it does have skin soothing, anarchist fighting – sorry, totally meant free radicals. What was I thinking?! – free radical fighting properties. As an added bonus, honey also acts a a humuctant, which is fancy-speak for saying that honey helps to draw moisture into the skin, as well as having softening properties.

This guy knows what we're talking about. Image via sfglobe.com and Blake Little

This guy knows what we’re talking about. Image via sfglobe.com and Blake Little

So while it’s no Philosopher’s Stone, it is pretty awesome stuff… and it is incredibly delicious! Did we mention that?

Now we here at the Raw Spa have a few products that use honey, specifically for the soothing properties it has on irritated skin. The Aftercare Skin Parfait, Aftercare Body Frosting from the Erotica Sensualis line and Green Nile Body Balm from the Jewel of the Nile line all pair honey with soothing raw aloe, to make for absolutely fabulous creams to slather all over your body. You can also find honey liberally swirled through all of the Cleopatra products- formulated for sensitive and/or damaged skin.

Check out our store Here! 

Also check out our weekly flash sales Here!

P.S. If you REALLY like honey and a lot of it check out this link here.

DIY Cucumber Spa Water

I’ve been having great fun all week with the rainstorms coming through. People think I’m nuts, but I adore rain. The light pitter patter as it begins, the crackling as the rain gets heavier, all building up to crescendos of thunder and lightning- and the smell of a fresh rain can’t be beat! I did my best to capture it with The 1st Battalion of the Spring Empress… But my fragrance blend pales in comparison to the real thing.

Having said that, I’m not the biggest fan of clouds. It seems like such an oxymoron, that I love rain and hate clouds… But I do. I get so blue when it’s overcast and gross out. And the air gets so disgustingly muggy. Rain and clouds? Yes, since the rain has to come from somewhere, I can overlook my hatred of clouds. No rain and clouds? Unforgivable mistake on the gods part. My Friend Who Remains Nameless jokes that I’m like a flower- I need lots of sun and lots of rain. Not enough sun, and I will wilt.

We’re coming off a really delightful storm, so the air is still clean and bright, and best of all, all my herbs are freshly washed! 🙂 so I decided to put together another spa water. I’ve been living off of AMP energy drinks, so my skin (and body) could use a little hydration!

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This one is my favorite Go-To spa water in the summer, since the Mint Monster outside is so prolific! (Seriously, we planted maybe three mint plants a few years ago, and now we’ve got a 20’x10′ mint jungle. And we’ve TRIED to rip it out and return it to it’s former little 5’x5′ patch… It never works.)

CUCUMBER MOJITO SPA WATER

1 cucumber, sliced

1 large lemon, sliced

1 handful mint (I used spearmint and peppermint)

Water

Some form of vessel to hold it all.

As with the last spa water recipe, it’s super easy. Just layer the cucumber slices, lemon slices and mint sprigs in the container (I used a huge glass jar), top it with filtered water, and refridgerate it for at least an hour before enjoying!

I can usually get a week worth of water from this- everytime I fill a bottle or a glass, I add more water to the jar. I have a huge event this weekend, and am going to be filling every available thing with a lid, since the last thing I want it to get a dehydration head ache.

What do you guys think of this recipe? What did you think of the last Spa Water recipe?

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