WTF is… Green Tea?!

Unlike it’s good buddy Sugar, Green Tea is pretty much universally loved and hailed as the best thing since sliced bread. It’s even older than the concept of sliced bread, making it a serious contender in the global commodities market. Considering that entire countries have waged wars all over the world to get this simple herb, we thought we’d take a second to steep in what makes Green Tea such a hot topic.

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Who knew that so much green could come from so much green? Image via wikimedia.org

So green tea, and in fact every type of tea outside of herbal tea, comes from a plant called Camellia Sinensis or “tea plant”. That’s right, matcha tea, oolong tea, lapsong tea, suchong tea, white tea, green tea, black tea, all come from this plant! In fact, the main difference between all the varieties of tea are based on how mature the leaves are before they are picked and what methods are used to ferment or oxidize them.

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The Camellia sinensis is a beauty in it’s own right, even if we usually only see it in a tea cup! image via wikipedia.com

Now there are plenty of studies to show how and why green tea is good for you inside, but we’re going to go over it’s benefits to your outside! The main constituents of green tea that are of particular note include:

  • A type of polyphenol called Catechins. Catechins are astringent, which help to tone the skin and also gently balance the oil your skin produces.
  • Caffeine, as we all know, invigorates and stimulates the skin to keep it healthy and lend it a rosy glow.
  • Theanine is an amino acid that has anti-aging properties and helps skin to stay hydrated and happy.
  • Vitamin C is a potent anti-oxidant that helps to rejuvenate and revitalize the skin so it feels smoother and softer.
  • Vitamin B helps to support healthy collagen production in the skin, and also supports the skin benefits of vitamin C.
  • Folate is another potent anti-oxidant that helps to rejuvenate and revitalize stressed skin, so it glows with happiness.
  • It’s antioxidants in general help to revitalize and rejuvenate the skin and to protect it from environmental damage like sun exposure, wind burn and toxins in the air, like car exhaust.
  • Of course we can’t forget Chlorophyll, a phytochemical that is loaded with antioxidants and not only revitalizes, but also deeply nourishes the skin to keep it extra healthy.

Pretty good stuff right? Well when it comes to green tea, we here at the Raw Spa pair it with nourishing rice bran oil, sumptuous mango butter, and an exotic blend of jasmine and vetiver for all of our Selene products. Much like the queen that is it’s namesake, Selene is specially formulated for skin that has seen it’s share of trials, but can still glow like the moon.

Selene Clay Bar

The Selene Clay Bar combines Matcha with moringa and French Green Clay for a nourishing face mask that smells like bubble tea!

We also make use of Matcha Green Tea (a special powdered tea from Japan used in the eponymous Japanese Tea Ceremon) for it’s verdant color in the Selene Bath Truffles, Bath Cupcakes, Bath Salts, Clay Bars and Exfoliant Bars.

We use extracts and infusions of Sencha green tea and moringa in our special Selene infused Rice bran oil, which can be found in all of our Selene shower treats including the Selene Salt Bars and Selene Gelly Baby, as well as the Selene Skin Tonics and Selene Skin Parfaits!

Be sure to check back later this week for a criminally simple green tea face mask, that will leaving your skin feeling fan-f***ing-tastic!!

How do you take your tea?

 

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WTF is… Flax Seed?! (Version 2.0)

Flax is your friend! In fact there is no reason why flax shouldn’t be your best friend! The plant is a pretty affair topped with gentle blue flowers though it’s not afraid to change it up and appear in white, yellow, or red. The fibers are soaked in water and beaten out to make sumptuously soft sheets, called linen, and paper (fun fact: The American Dollar is made out of linen paper)! And the oil from it’s seeds is super duper good for you! Talk about going green! Flax for everyone!

The flax plant (Linum usitatissimum)

The flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) with it’s beautiful blue flowers! So cute! Image via Wikipedia.com

Let’s get to know a bit more about our fine fibered friend. Flax has been in use for a very VERY long time. There is evidence that the use of wild flax dates back to the Upper Paleolithic 30,000 years ago! From there is was domesticated and made a tour across Europe and Asia while occasionally stopping in to party with Egypt and Rome. In fact Egyptian Priests wore linen exclusively, since flax was seen as a symbol of purity in ancient Egyptian culture.

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All that goodness packed into a little seed! Amazing! Image by Bdevel via wikipedia.com

Now while flax seed’s are a decent nutritional supplement, it’s oil is of value for it’s rich moisturizing and soothing properties. Of note is it’s high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid which not only helps to reduce redness and irritation from inflammation, but also helps to balance the skin, to keep break outs to a minimum. these awesome properties and bolstered by the healthy dose of Omega-3’s that flax seed rocks. See what I mean now? Flax really IS your friend!

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Don’t let it’s pretty appearance fool you- it’s a mess-free face mask!!!

Flax seed meal is pretty nifty, too! It’s high mucillage content means that when it combines with water, and releases a slippery, nourishing gel that is packed full of polysaccharides to deeply hydrate the skin and keep it feeling healthy. Think of it like a a super simple conditioner for your skin! In fact, flax seed gel is so awesome that it is frequently used as the base ingredient for nourishing organic hair gels (behold this glorious list of styling flax creams on Etsy!). It’s exceptional for curly hair types, and we’ll be giving you a quick and easy recipe that Mack used to use before she… ahem… shaved off all her hair….

Here at The Raw spa, we subscribe to the Ancient Egyptian application of flax seed oil in our products to promote purity. Or better said, to promote purely happy skin! Our Nefertiti products, formulated for dry skin with occasional break outs, are all loaded with flax in it’s many forms, from the flax seed oil swirled into the Nefertiti facial treats like the Skin Tonic and Skin Parfait, to the shower confections like Salt Bars, Gelly Baby and Marshmallow Creams; and the flax seed meal folded into the Nefertiti Clay Bar, Nefertiti Exfoliant Bar and Nefertiti Sugar Bar.

We are especially proud of our flax seed oil and flax seed meal, because we know EXACTLY where it was pressed- we press the oil ourselves, to keep it super fresh, and grind down the flax meal once the oil is pressed out. Besides helping to minimize our carbon foot print and to limit the amount of waste that our products create, it also allows us to ensure that you are getting a fresh flax that doesn’t smell like old fish. Because regardless of what you have been told, flax seed shouldn’t smell fishy!

What are your favorite ways to use flax?

 

WTF is… Turmeric?!

Turmeric is what the layman would describe as an ‘exotic spice’. It doesn’t help that it’s a widely used ingredient in several Indian dishes, and a well known component in Ayurvedic medicine that , in some regards, is comparable to ibuprofen. No seriously.  Turmeric is what the layman would describe as an ‘exotic spice’. But before you go raiding your spice cabinet, let’s get some facts for your cerebral curry!

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If you mistake it for ginseng you are in for a slightly-less-bitter-than-you-expected surprise. Image via wikimedia.org.

First things first, DO NOT use turmeric as a substitute for ibuprofen or other over the counter painkillers. While some studies have shown that it can be used as a painkiller, it they are by no means conclusive. So if you have a pounding headache or joint pain don’t reach for your spice rack.

That being said, there are a lot of things that turmeric is definitely good for!  Aside from being an integral ingredient in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian dishes turmeric contains folates (to help support healthy skin behavior), niacin (helps skin stay glowing and youthful), pyridoxine (helps skin retain moisture), is rich in vitamins C (helps to rejuvenate damaged skin) and E (blocks free radicals that wrinkles the skin), in addition to it’s heavy hitter, curcumin, which helps to reduce inflammation.

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Ain’t no party like a turmeric party! Image via wikimedia.org.

At the Raw Spa, we use turmeric exclusively in our all of our Hatshepsut products. Aside from being an actual ingredient the ancient Egyptian queen would have used for her beauty practices, we utilize it today to help calm oily or generally aggravated skin. The turmeric also synergizes well with the frankincense and spices to reduce the appearance and aggravations from acne break outs.

 

You can find some of our Hatshepsut bars, skin potions, and even bath cupcakes on our website! You can also find other excellent products in the Jewel of the Nile line HERE.

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The crazy color of these Hatshepsut Bath Truffles is all thanks to the healthy pinch of turmeric that we use!

What are your favorite ways to use turmeric?

 

 

 

 

 

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).

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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… Rhubarb?!

As a staple in any self-respecting witch doctors garden, rhubarb is a pretty useful plant. And much like old timey shamans, Rhubarb can be both incredibly healing and exceptionally toxic if used in certain ways. Bet you won’t look at a rhubarb pie the same way now! But don’t worry, I’ll tell you how you can safely get your fingers in this pie.

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Delicious? Deadly? Both?!  Picture via Wikipedia.org

Before we get to the pie eating, did you know that back in the day rhubarb was valued on the same scale as rubies, silk, and diamonds? In fact, at one point it was more valuable than opium.  That’s right, the humble rhubarb was more expensive than the great grand daddy of narcotics. So obviously it must have been like super crack or an aphrodisiac or both, right? Like a Supercrackadesiac? Actually, the cost of transportation across Asia made rhubarb expensive in medieval Europe. Don’t get me wrong though, rhubarb is still pretty awesome. It has been and is still used in traditional Chinese medicine, primarily as a laxative.

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This much rhubarb in medieval times could probably buy you a whole castle. Image via Wikipedia.org

But is it poisonous? Absolutely. Well actually, just one part of the rhubarb plant contains any toxins: the leaf. While eating rhubarb leaves at first will make you very sick, repeated ingestion can be lethal. So if someone offers you some rhubarb leaf tea, you should politely decline. Again, this is a PSA from The Raw Spa: DO NOT INGEST RHUBARB LEAVES!

Now we here at the Raw Spa recommend that you never eat any of our products (no matter how delicious they smell) but if you absolutely have to eat our soaps and things, you can do it without the worry of dying afterward. We use the root and stalk of the rhubarb plant to get all the good effects. Like the fact that rhubarb is astringent which means it can help to balance the oiliness of skin.

At the Raw Spa we use Rhubarb as part of our seasonal Farm Stand line, in particular our Rhubarb Crumble products! It marks the beginning of our Farm Stand line and can be found in our shop May of every year!

 

 

 

 

WTF is…Goats Milk?!

On the big long list of things we rub on our skin to make it happy, goats milk is one of the more straightforward ones. I mean, just because it’s sharp doesn’t mean we have to use it as an exfoliant. Oh I’m sorry was that too cheesy for your liking? Alright I’ll stop kidding around. Let’s talk about why goat’s milk is so *bleat*ing good for you.

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Could this goat get any glassier? Eh? Okay I’m done. Photo via sammysmilk.com

Question: How does traditional bar soap clean the body?

Answer: Without getting too technical, the chemicals that are typically used in bars of soap induce an extremely mild chemical burn to cleanse away all the dirt and grime (this is why soap stings when you get it in your eyes). In terms of cleanliness it is great! In terms of hygiene, it is absolute overkill. It’s like mowing your lawn with a flame thrower. Sure you’ll get the job done but in the end you’re left with a dry, barren and damaged surface.

Enter goats milk, the hypothetical lawn mower. Instead of burning off the top layer of skin, goats milk uses it’s alpha hydroxy acid to remove only the dead skin cells when applied topically. It also uses it’s vitamin A content to help repair damaged skin tissue. We could go on about the other bazillion ways goats milk is good for you, like how it is anti inflammatory,  a great source of essential minerals for your skin, yadda yadda yadda but let’s skip to the part where I show you where you can get some!

You’ll find goats milk all through our Cleopatra products from the Jewel of the Nile line! The bars and bath confections are all packed with goats milk, to leave your skin happy and healthy!

If that sounds like something you’d like to have, check out our store page here!

We’ve also got a Patreon! Help keep us happy and healthy (and caffeinated) by becoming a Patron here!

 

 

 

 

WTF is…Coffee?!

Look, let’s just lay it out on the table. The Raw Spa consists of two twenty-somethings who work hard everyday. We. Freaking. Love. Coffee. Look at the first goal of our Patreon and you’ll see just how much we love coffee. But in addition to downing a good old cup of joe, we like putting it in our products. No, we’re not THAT coffee crazy, but you may find the health benefits of coffee to be rather stimulating.

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What coffee is like to people who don’t drink it. Image via wikipedia.org

But first some fun facts. Just under half of the worlds supply of coffee comes from Brazil alone. Now those who REALLY know their coffee know that while Brazil’s coffee is tasty, it doesn’t have quite the punch that African coffee has. That’s because the strain of coffee plant that is exported from Africa has about 40-50% more of that special little chemical we know and love. That’s right! Caffeine!

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What coffee is like to people who DO drink it. Image via Sylvan Migdal.

Anyone who’s ever drank coffee, a coke, or any of the hundreds of energy drinks out there can attest to how caffeine affects the body when ingested. But what about topical application? You might ask if your skin will jump off and run away in a fit of frenzied over exuberance. To which we would reply: No, that’s just silly.

But products that have caffeine do serve as a stimulant and when applied to skin can increase blood circulation as well as reduce swelling and inflammation. Coffee grounds are also rough enough that they can be used as an ingredient in your daily exfoliant.

Now remember when I said we love coffee here at The Raw Spa? Well we love you more, and to prove it we sacrifice our beloved coffee to be added to products like Charlie Tango and Libertine from the Erotica Sensualis line so that your skin can have the stimulation and care it deserves! You can find all of our caffeinated products HERE!

Hey you! Do you like our blogs? If so you’ll love our Patreon! Check us out, we’ve got lots of stretch goals and fantastic rewards for contributers!

Feel free to check out our store here for all the products we mentioned and so much more!