Most of us know that whole almonds are jam-packed full of fibre, Vitamin E, manganese and magnesium, but what about almond oil? This popular base oil for aromatherapy massage blends is also ultra-nourishing for your skin, especially when used regularly.
We buy our certified organic Australian almond oil from a co-op up north. Wherever possible, we support Aussie farmers.
History of cultivation
The almond – a member of the prunus or peach family – is native to Syria, Turkey and Pakistan. It was spread by humans in ancient times along the shores of the Mediterranean into northern Africa and southern Europe.
Almonds were one of the earliest domesticated fruit trees because you can successfully raise them from seed. Domesticated almonds (as opposed to the wild version that have a bitter flavour) were found in archaeological sites around Numeria (Jordan) dating back to the Bronze Age (3000 – 2000 BC). They even found almonds in Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt, dating back to 1325 BC.
Almond oil, extracted from drupes (they’re not technically nuts), is known for its ability to soften and re-condition the skin. It is rich in proteins and Vitamin D, and is considered extremely nourishing – particularly when used regularly.
The face has different skin to the rest of the body. It’s much more sensitive and almond oil is easily absorbed into the pores.
Want to feed your skin with almond oil-based day cream? Check ours out here.
Chamomile tea is known for its calming properties and is hugely popular as a pre-dinner cuppa in countries like Switzerland and Germany. This easygoing plant is a cinch to cultivate and its flowers are jam-packed with medicinal phytochemicals.
We grow all of our own chamomile here on the farm.
History of cultivation
According to the US National Library of Medicine, Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind. It is a member of Asteraceae/Compositae family and represented by two common varieties viz. German Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The dried flowers of chamomile contain many terpenoids and flavonoids contributing to its medicinal properties.
Chamomile preparations are commonly used for many human ailments such as hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, and hemorrhoids. Essential oils of chamomile are used extensively in cosmetics and aromatherapy. Many different preparations of chamomile have been developed, the most popular of which is in the form of herbal tea.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Chamomile tea is a powerhouse of antioxidants and protects the skin from free-radicals. The chamomile extract we use in our day cream is made from fresh flowers and ionised rain water.
More info about our super healing day cream with sunscreen here.
Different scrub ingredients explained
We use JOJOBA wax beads
– Jojoba wax beads to scrub the face are so gentle to clean out the pores, take off the dead skin cells and than they melt and moisturise – so you can use them daily
– to harsh for the face, they will take off good skin as well as the dead skin so only once a month.
– again far to harsh for the face
– never – they kill fish and pollute our oceans
We need to rid the dead skin cells so our night cream can actually soak in.
By Kay Saarinen – eco skin care made sustainably in Australia NSW
I hear this all the time “I have had so many conflicting skin care routines from so many different companies”
It IS confusing having a lot of skin care routine advice from many different company’s.
There is a reason for it and its not sinister.
Its all about the ingredients, different ingredients do different things.
All routines are based on how they interreact with each other, makes sense hey when its explained.
Take control and work out what ingredients are best for you by
– what feels good on your skin
– work out what irritates your skin
Also work out what outcome you are chasing
– fine lines
– clear skin
– glowing skin
than work out your skin type
I actually love working with people to find this out,
I can arrange a zoom meeting on facebook meets face to face and we can get to the nitty gritties for free.
My products may not be right for you though you can work out what products are with a little guidance.
By Kay Saarinen – Eco skin care made sustainably in Australia NSW
Calendulas are members of the daisy family and are often referred to as marigolds. In addition to being a popular garden pretty, calendula flowers possess some powerful healing properties.
We grow all of our own calendula here on the farm. They thrive in this climate.
History of cultivation
Calendula species have been used traditionally as culinary and medicinal herbs. The petals are edible and can be used fresh in salads or dried and used to colour cheese or as a replacement for saffron. You can make yellow dye from the petals.
Romans and Greeks used the golden calendula in many rituals and ceremonies, sometimes wearing crowns or garlands made from the flowers. One of its nicknames is ‘Mary’s Gold’, referring to the flowers’ use in early Catholic events in some countries. Calendula flowers are sacred flowers in India and have been used to decorate the statues of Hindu deities since early times.
Calendula officinalis has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. We extract calendula essence from the flowers by infusing them in ionised rain water. Calendula ointments are used to treat minor cuts, burns, and skin irritation. I first made calendula ointment for a naturopathy assignment, and later used it on my baby daughter to treat her eczema. I know include calendula in my day cream because it’s such a healing ingredient.
You can buy my day cream with sunscreen here.
Stinging nettle Infusion
By Kay Saarinen of Saarinen Organics,
Eco skin care made sustainably in Australia
Dried nettle 30 gm per 1 litre of filtered rain water
I get asked all the time about how to make tinctures and herbal infusions.
It is pretty simple stuff, you just need to research each herb to find out what is best to draw out all the goodness that you need.
Some need to be used fresh and some need to be dried, some need an alcohol base some can be made with vinegar.
I use herbal infusions and apple cider vinegar tinctures in my skin care.
Stinging nettle is found in Australia from Qld to tassie in wet gullies, so we have it in abundance here so we can wild harvest though after the fires it hasn’t come back as yet so we are going to give it a go cropping it this spring.
We have heaps growing in the chook run, it readily will grow in with chooks because it loves alot of nitrogen, we are going to dig up the rhizomes and give it a crack at mass producing it.
It grows as a rhizome so you can easily transplant it.
What stinging nettle is good for
Nettle for infusions i prefer dried though it takes a while to brew it to get all of her compounds and nutrients out
She has vit ABCK loads of vitamins
High in iron and vit C
Great for stress & Anxiety
Energy – great instead of coffee if you can do that
Its an anti inflammatory thats why i use it in my night day and sunscreen creams for it helps with puffiness.
helps with puffy eyes as well
I love to soak makeup pads in the nettle infusion and lay there with them on my eyes.
It is also used as a scalp treatment for a rinse with itchy skin and flaky sculp.
Let it brew for at least 24 hours if not 30,
We have it in our heads that herbal tea should be a quick brew light black tea, this is such a western thought and thats all about taste.
Funny enough black tea goes bitter the longer you brew it though stinging nettle improves in taste.
Strain it and drink it cold.
Using nettle fresh is best in cooking like soups as it breaks down quickly.
Loads of people have an aloe vera plant so they can apply ‘First Aid’ when they burn themselves. All you have to do is snap off a leaf and the slimy mucus comes pouring out—perfect for household injuries and sunburn. Over time, the chemical properties of this substance have been researched and scientists have discovered that aloe vera can be used for so much more, including soothing gastrointestinal inflammation and moisturising healthy skin.
We source our aloe vera through a company that buys from certified organic farms in Queensland where it grows best. We also grow a small amount on our farm.
History of cultivation
Aloe vera is native to the south-west Arabian peninsula and spread throughout the world by seafaring explorers in the 17th century. Known as the ‘First Aid plant’ and the ‘Burn plant’, aloe vera’s healing properties have long been observed. The first written record of aloe vera is in Ebers Papyrus from 16th Century BC.
Aloe vera is known for its moisturising action. The vitamins found in aloe vera include B complex, folic acid, vitamin C, and carotene which is a precursor to vitamin A. Because the plant naturally thrives in hot, dry conditions, the juice inside the leaves is full of moisture-laden compounds that are beneficial to human skin.
Want to know more about the amazing properties of aloe vera? I wrote a blog post about it here that talks about five benefits of using aloe vera on your skin.
Find out more about our non-greasy, easily-absorbed day cream with aloe vera here.
Our new Seaweed Hand Cream for the drying effects of over washing and sanitizing our hands has been flying off the shelves.
We are so proud of this cream, with our collaboration with Jo Lane—who is a marine biologist—who supplies us with her very impressive seaweed (kelp).
Check out our interview with Jo on our Facebook page.
JO LANE SAYS
“Have you ever thought about when you swim in the ocean how good and invigorated you feel afterward, the ocean has over 40 different minerals, some of which are vital for our bodies health and immune system.”
“Seaweed is a great addition to skincare, it has a high mineral content, vitamins, amino acids, and biologically active ingredients, it also has omega 3 and omega 6 oils which promote cell regeneration and skin health.”
“The properties of kelp are great to cleanse, nourish, hydrate, and enrich the skin. Ever notice while walking on the beach seaweed (kelp) washed up, after lying in the sun for hours it still retains moisture and elasticity, it’s these same properties that make it fantastic for nourishing and hydrating your skin.”
We take this another step and use seaweed in our skincare range.
Stinging nettles are those pesky weeds in the back paddock, right? Most people recall getting zapped by one of these plants when they were a kid but what many people don’t realise is that the phytochemicals that cause the stinging sensation are also extremely beneficial to humans when used medicinally.
Originating from Europe, stinging nettles are found all over the world, including in cultivation on our farm. Many people think of stinging nettles as a weed but this extraordinary plant has a lot of therapeutic properties for the skin, urinary system, lactation, and joints.
History of cultivation
If you’ve ever had a kidney infection and you like alternative therapies, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with nettle tea. Smells a bit like fresh cowpats.
Nettles have been used in Austrian traditional medicine for centuries and pagans used nettle tea as a lactation aid. In Ecuador, there are indigenous healers that use stinging nettles to improve fatigue and circulation. They either rub raw leaves directly onto their patient’s skin or they flog them with bundles of the herb. I guess that would wake you up!
Nettle extracts are used in skincare because they are chock-a-block full of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and they possess anti-inflammatory qualities.
Want to check out our day cream with sunscreen that has nettle in it? Check it out here.
We source our lavender from passionate local growers, Mount Darragh Lavender, in the Bega Valley, Wyndham, NSW. The team over there have been growing lavender for 20 years and use a chemical-free distillation method—the slow and steady, old-fashioned way using wood-burning stills—to create a top-end oil that is pure perfection.
History of cultivation
The first recorded use of lavender was during Roman times, but almost certainly goes back further than that. There are 47 species of lavender that grow wild from Europe, through Africa, and right across to Asia. What most people know as lavender is Lavandula angustifolia, otherwise known as English lavender or true lavender.
Did you know that zinc oxide is in a lot of sunscreens? Most people think of the white stuff that cricket players have on their noses and lips when they think about zinc, but zinc oxide is an ‘invisible’ ingredient in a lot of formulations. It’s what gives some sunscreens that opaque sheen. There has been some debate about whether the zinc oxide in sunscreens can be absorbed into the bloodstream which is why we use non-nano zinc in our products. Read on for a brief explanation of the difference between nano and non-nano zinc.
Zinc oxide is a white powder that is manufactured in a lab. The difference between nano and non-nano zinc is the size of the particles in the powder. The benefit of using a non-nano zinc oxide in skin products is that the particles are too large to absorb through the dermis and into the bloodstream.
History of use
People have been using sunscreens for centuries. Ancient Greeks used olive oil, ancient Egyptians used extracts of rice, jasmine, and lupine plants and the nomadic sea-going Sama-Bajau people of South East Asia used a paste called borak that was made from water weeds, rice, and spices.
Zinc oxide paste has also been popular for skin protection for thousands of years. Synthetic sunscreens arrived on the market in 1928, with the first major commercial sunscreen launched in 1936 by the founder of L’Oreal, French chemist Eugène Schueller.
Zinc oxide particles in a cream base block or scatter UV rays so that they can’t get through to the skin.
It is highly debatable whether nano zinc oxide can get into the bloodstream through the pores but I prefer using non-nano zinc oxide—defined in Australia as having more than 90% of particles above 100nm in size—because non-nano zinc works exactly the same way so why take the risk?
Want to try our Day Cream with Sunscreen? Click here to buy.
Honey is one of nature’s miracle products and can be used in a myriad of ways for both food and medicine. The seasonal variation in the flavour profile is just one of the things that makes honey endlessly fascinating, but it’s also a really powerful ingredient when it comes to nourishing your skin.
We get our honey from a local South Coast beekeeper named Tony Bee. He has been working with bees for most of his life. Tony is in his 70s now and has a real passion for bee health. He will only harvest honey when he knows they can make more, and won’t if it looks like a bad season as he doesn’t want them to starve.
Many large keepers don’t care and will just harvest no matter what, subsequently starving the bees and causing them to die.
He uses a low heat extraction method to remove the wax from the honey. He also moves his hives around to areas of abundant flowers to large orchards to help out with pollination on farms or fields.
I love working with Tony because he’s local and passionate. His honey is high quality and cruelty-free—he doesn’t even smoke them when he’s harvesting.
History of use
According to a Medical News Today article, cave paintings show that around 8,000 years ago, honey was first being used by humans, although there was no evidence of humans keeping and cultivating colonies of bees until 2,400 BC.
Honey was a mainstay in the medical practices of many cultures for centuries. Over 4,000 years ago, honey was used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, where it was thought to be effective in treating indigestion and imbalances in the body.
Before its use by Ancient Egyptians, honey was rubbed onto the skin to treat wounds and has been found in medicinal substances from over 5,000 years ago.
The beneficial properties of honey have been explored and studied in modern times, and there is evidence to suggest that some parts of its historical reputation may hold truth.
While honey has many therapeutic uses, it’s main use in skincare is for wound healing because of its antibacterial properties, some of which are detailed in this Dermatology Times article.
We use honey in most of our products including our new Day Cream, which is also a sunscreen. Super light on your skin, it soothes while it protects.
The Vitamin E we use in our products is GMO-free and vegetable obtained.
Vitamin E Oil is a natural antioxidant. It is very moisturising (particularly helpful due to its close relationship with our Sebum Oil) and has been known to help minimise scars, help improve severe dry skin, and is also noted for its anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing benefits and its success in reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Topical application of Vitamin E has been proven beneficial in many clinical trials. It has also been found to absorb the energy from ultraviolet (UV) light. This means its helpful in photo-protection and preventing UV-induced free radical damage to skin*.
The Vitamin E Oil that we use in Saarinen Organics products is a natural, GMO-free Vitamin E Oil (Tocopherol T-50)—the purest form of natural vitamin E available and is obtained strictly from plant sources only.
So the very best thing you can do is to apply vitamin E nightly and also eat a wide range of food that contains high vitamin E to help you glow from the inside out, what you eat we can definitely see on the skin.
When we’re young, we hate when our skin produces excess oil, because it can cause acne. However, this same oil, known as Sebum, becomes our friend as we age because it helps us keep the skin moist and gives a youthful appearance.
Sebum is produced far less as we get older, with a considerable depletion occuring at age 40. This is why our skin dries out and eventually begins to wrinkle. The cosmetics industry encourages us to turn to synthetic moisturisers to help slow the process, but those products are simply not as effective on our skin as Sebum Oil.
Luckily nature is generous and provides multiple solutions. Recent research has found that palmitoleic acid, the omega 7 fatty acid found in Sebum can be sourced from multiple elements of the natural world. One such of these is particularly abundant, helpful, and native to Australia—Macadamia Oil.
Our Sebum supply declines as we age, however, the qualities of Macadamia Oil have been proven to act as a natural anti-aging tool.
When applied to the skin it is absorbed fully and doesn’t leave a greasy feel. Because it’s so close to your skin’s naturally produced oil, it’s able to help soften fine lines and wrinkles, providing a treatment that is both nourishing and grounding.
This is why we use certified organic Macadamia Nut Oil in our all-natural eco skincare range. Handcrafted on our permaculture farm in the Bega Valley, Wyndham, NSW.
A little about the properties of Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts contain over 75% of their weight as oil, the remainder is 9.0% proteins, 9.3% carbohydrates, 1.5% moisture, 1.6% mineral matters, and 2.0% fibre. The kernels of macadamia contain vitamin A1, B1, B2, niacin, and essential elements such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. The oil is a triglyceride oil and contains primarily monounsaturated fats up to 80–84%. Macadamia oil contains the highest percentage of monounsaturates when compared to both olive and canola oils.
Macadamia nuts are also high in oleic acid (omega 9) and linoleic acid (omega 6) which helps the skin to restore its barrier function and maintain moisture. These fatty acids also boast anti-inflammatory properties, helping your skin to remain healthy and smooth.
Akhtar; et al. (2006). “Evaluation of basic properties of macadamia nut oil”. Gomal University Journal of Research, 22: 21–27. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
MICROPLASTIC BEAD FREE SCRUB
I do hope many people have seen the devastating toll these plastic beads have done on our water ways. Over the years I have had many discussions about plastic beads, expressing my concerns about the effect they will have on the environment, finally the knowledge is mainstream now.
From a business point of view, I understand why companies use them as they are cheap! Profit, profit, profit!
We here at Saarinen Organics choose to use Jojoba Wax Beads in our scrub, they are strong enough to clean out the pores and remove a layer of dead skin cells, then they melt and moisturise! Why do companies not use them? Because of the price, they are very expensive, in fact, our margin is very low on our scrubs due to this. We are not all about that, we are about living sustainably, both from our land and whilst caring for the land! These are the reasons why all-natural skincare products just cannot compete with larger companies’ price tags.
Follow the above link and check out what plastic beads are doing to our environment.
Today I received some fantastic feedback from a customer, and it represented a turning point in all-natural skincare.
The feedback was as follows:
My mother, who is 91 with dementia, had swollen legs & cellulitis developed leg ulcers. I visit every day & put on the calendula ointment to the ulcers & legs, it worked fantastically & they are almost gone now. I was a little hesitant at first because she has very sensitive skin. I thought you would be interested. As a pharmacist I had a whole pile of stuff on hand but full marks to your wonderful ointment. Thanks!
With all the products this pharmacist had on hand, developed for specific treatments with complex scientific formulas, our own Calendula Ointment grown on our family eco-farm and manufactured in my on-farm studio worked a treat.
But you can buy Calendula Ointment at any pharmacy, right?
Yes. And have you noticed what colour it is? White. And do you know what colour the calendula flower is? Beautifully bright yellow! Stunning yellow, in fact, from the marigold family.
So what happens to Calendula Ointment to turn it white? The only way to achieve a crisp white cream is by using clear oils, essential oils, and adding a lot of water to the emulsifying wax to create the white colour. This means that the products aren’t made with herbal infusions, tinctures, or whole oils which are coloured.
Pharmaceutical products tend to offer short term relief, without really getting to the root cause of the ailment. As a result, the problem often comes back ten times worse and is much harder to treat. Now you may think it’s all a conspiracy to keep you buying more, but it’s also about the need for additional synthetic ingredients to reduce the cost of manufacturing and to help stabilise such complex, volatile products for long term shelf life and storage. It also comes down to, as you’ll read below, our expectations as consumers and what we’re conditioned to seeing.
Herbs are potent and powerful plants. They have wonderful healing abilities. Herbs and herb oils are too strong to use directly on your skin and they do need to be used in conjunction with other carrier oils and ingredients. Somehow, those wonderful healing properties of the herb need to make their way into a convenient and absorbent product to use on your skin.
So what’s the most effective method?
Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts using alcohol as the solvent. Tinctures extract both the water-soluble and alcohol-soluble chemical constituents from the plant. Tinctures are fast-acting on the body, and they also have a much longer shelf life than highly volatile oils.
Infusions are herbs steeped in lipids such as natural oils or liquid waxes where the properties of the herb are transferred to the oil.
Essential oils, on the other hand, are extracted using either steam distillation or solvent extraction. Solvent extraction often uses chemicals such as hexane, acetone, di-methylene-chloride, and more in order to extract the essential oils from the plant. It’s popular because it increases production volume and takes far less time than other methods of extraction. But it opens the flood gates for all sorts of skin sensitivities.
And this is when you realise that learning to read and understand the ingredients list on the back of your skincare products is simply not enough! You must get to know your manufacturer and their methods.
Saarinen Organics spent four days at a health expo in Sydney last year showcasing our wonderful products to the world. I’ll never forget the feedback I had from one customer shocked at the colour of one of my creams.
“But it’s brown!”, she exclaimed!
“Yes!” I said proudly. Because it’s an all-natural tincture. My herbal tinctures are all made from fresh herbs and therefore have that brown tinge. My aloe vera face gel is made from fresh aloe vera and has a green tinge. My herbal infusions have either a brown or a green tinge. Because they’re all-natural.
We’ve been so conditioned as consumers to expect that crisp, white cream that we suspect there’s something wrong with our skincare when it’s in its most natural usable form, untainted with toxic chemicals and not loaded up with water and emulsifying waxes. So much so, that it’s altering the effectiveness of skincare products. But when a pharmacist with a plethora of specialist products on hand takes the time to offer their feedback on our all-natural skincare, bright yellow and all, we know we’re about to reach a turning point. As consumers, we want to know that we’re buying products that actually work, not just products that look nice and clean.
This picture of a water tank may not look terribly exciting on the face of it, but let me tell you why you should be beaming as big as I am right now.
Liquid skincare solutions or creamy skin based solutions contain quite a lot of water or water-based infusions, our Saarinen Organics creams are ALL herbal infusion based. Unless your manufacturer is completely transparent, you wouldn’t know the origin of the water nor what type. It could be tap water for all you know and contain chlorine or fluoride or any measure of preservatives to prevent spoilage. Perhaps the skincare manufacturer is not even aware of what your water contains, as it’s not their priority or their ‘key ingredient’. Perhaps they’ve overlooked the fact that their ‘floral water’ may not come from the purest of sources or have been contaminated with chemicals or preservatives in the process from the company they buy it from if they do not make it themselves, as is often the case. Perhaps the containers it’s delivered in aren’t BPA free, and this chemical could be leeching into your products and into your skin, compromising the integrity of the products you buy and use.
This is our stainless steel, food-grade water tank. It captures fresh rainwater on our farm, situated 200 metres from a beautiful National Park. It’s the water we drink from, the water we use to bathe and use to make our herbal infusions for our creams.
So you know exactly where our water came from. And you know exactly how our herbal infusions were made. And you know that the water used for our products is no lesser quality than the water the manufacturers themselves would personally drink.
It’s a highly overlooked ingredient in the manufacture of skincare products, as it’s the most basic and not the ‘active’ ingredient most companies wish to promote. But it’s in everything, and it’s hugely important. At least, when it comes to products of integrity.
I urge you to think about the products you use and consider, if you wouldn’t eat it, then don’t put it on your skin!
And admire our beautiful stainless steel, food-grade rainwater tank in all its glory!
It’s the little details that matter the most.