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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Skin Care Sunday: What’s the Deal with Oily Skin?

I feel like the past few weeks this weather has just been playing tricks on Philadelphia- a few warm days to get us excited for the end of winter, and then BAM! More freezing cold. Are you as sick of it as I am? Because I’m kind of done with this cold weather.

So last week I took some time to introduce your skin to you. If you missed the post, you can check it out HERE. Obviously, it was just a brief overview, because there’s more to skin than just it’s layers! For example, there’s oily skin, dry skin, acne etc. So let’s take a second to talk oily skin.

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if your skin shines brighter than this bubble…. you probably have oily skin, or a WHOLE LOT of highlighter on!!

If you have it, you probably hate it- it makes your skin shine like a disco ball, and all that excess oily that your skin insists on producing can lead to black heads and break outs. There’s not really a clean and cut explanation for WHY some people have oily skin, while others don’t. But the how is easy to answer- your sebaceous glands are going waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy overboard in their job. For some people, they go through a “oily phase” right around puberty (oily teenager, any one?) but then they manage to pull out of it and the oil production regulates (and we stare at them with envy). For other people, the oily sheen pops up around their period, and then goes away for a few weeks (that’s right ladies- you get extra SPECIAL oily skin!). And yet still others only really seem to get oily skin in hot weather- this one is pretty normal, and results from sauna-like temperatures opening up your pores and getting the detox on!

Personally, I go from having bone dry skin through the winter to having skin like an Exxon-Valdez oil slick in the summer. It’s an experience. The result is that I’ve learned that when it comes to oily skin, you do have to be a little careful with how you handle it.

Firstly, put down that astringent toner formulated for acne-ridden teenagers. While it’s tempting to force your skin into being oil-free, you may end up doing more harm than good if you go too hard. Completely ridding your skin of oil with excessive washing or toning can lead to you skin creating even more oil- because here your skin was, doing it’s job, and then suddenly all the oil went away. There’s only one logical course of action for your skin- MORE OIL!!!!!!

Instead of harsh cleanser, try a gentle cleanser with few bubbles, and cleanse your skin twice a day to help keep the oil under control. Another option is to try oil-cleansing, which sounds counter intuitive, but can actually help to deeply cleanse oily skin without adding more oil. You can Google how to do it. I would recommend using an oil that’s pretty high in linoleic acid, like castor oil, grape seed oil or safflower oil- while these oils do have a really heavy “greasy” feel to them, you’ll be wiping them off your face once you’re done, taking away the oil you put on, and the excess oil your skin doesn’t need!

Secondly, your skin is already naturally moisturizing itself, so you won’t really need to use heavy creams with cocoa butter or shea butter, but a little lotion can go a long way, if it has the right oils in it! For oily skin, look for products that have “dry” oils (or oils that absorb quickly without leaving a protective film). These oils not only add a little extra moisturization, but also tend to have very mild astringent properties, so that they trick your skin into thinking its already produced enough oil and can take a break! I suggest looking for products that have lots of hemp seed oil (OMG it’s SUCH a pretty green color!!!!), hazelnut oil, black seed oil, rose hip seed oil, evening primrose oil, pumpkin seed oil and sesame seed oil.

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Fresh aloe is super awesome for oily skin!!!

A little hydration, wouldn’t go amiss in your skincare routine either! Look for oil free moisturizers (often marketed as gels) to add to your regime. Fresh aloe in particular is great for oily skin, as it is cooling, calming, and mildly astringent- it won’t over dry your skin , but it will gently slow down the oil production! It’s especially awesome in the summer if you freeze it in an ice cube tray and rub a cube over your face after you’ve washed it- very refreshing!!

With all of this talk about how to calm oil production, and have just a little less shine, now might be a good time to point out something absolutely awesome about oily skin- it doesn’t age! I mean, obviously it literally DOES age… but it takes a muuuuuuuuuch longer time for things like wrinkles and fine lines to start showing up on oily skin!! So the next time you look in the mirror and think “ugh, so oily today!” take a second and remember how much money you won’t be spending on anti-aging products!! 🙂

What are your favorite things to do for oily skin?

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…Sugar?!

Oh man, here it is. The big one. The greatest thing or the greatest evil depending on who you ask. Love it or hate it, the fact is we can’t live without sugar in some way, shape or form. There’s a lot of ground to cover here but don’t worry. For you we’ll keep it short and sweet.

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Every modern child’s dream. Every modern adult’s nightmare. Image via en.wikipedia.org.

So let us start with origins. Sugar has been produced in India since ancient times, and we’re talking REALLY ancient. Like 8th century Chinese manuscripts BC ancient. For a while sugar wasn’t really a big deal. People chewed raw sugarcane to get their sweet fix. It wasn’t until the Indian people discovered methods of turning sugarcane juice into granulated crystals that it really took off. Fun fact: in the local Indian language the crystals were called khanda, which is the source of the word candy.

Now when it comes to sugar in terms of health things get a bit…complicated. To summarize just about everything from both sides of the fence: sugar is kind of good for you and kind of bad for you. Unfortunately modern science is unable to determine sugars effect on the human body since they don’t have a large enough population to run the appropriate tests. Essentially since EVERYONE eats sugar in some way, shape or form we can’t get a definite measure of how it effects the human body when ingested.

Fortunately for us, and you, we DO know it’s effects when applied topically! Sugar is primarily used on our skin as an exfoliant. The nature of the sugar granules make it ideal for scrubbing off layers of dead skin. It is also a humectant and draws moisture into the skin from the air.

We here at The Raw Spa  offer a unique alternative to conventional sugar scrubs that come in jars. For our sugar scrubs come in bars! Namely our Spice Merchant exfoliating sugar bars not only smell great but can be applied with a little water to provide a gentle but deeply exfoliating experience.

Speaking of merchants, if you’d like to try some of our products, come visit us on our store page here!

We’ve also got a patreon! If you become a patron not only will you get monthly product, but you’ll also sleep easy knowing that you’re helping two young adults maintain their coffee induced insomnia. Check it out here!

 

 

 

 

 

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!