Skin Care

By Irene Fogarty

This season, why not give your loved ones the gifts of health and great skin? Show them you don’t need to apply the latest chemical compound or bio-gineered molecules to your face by gifting some of these all-natural products…and maybe even treat your own skin to the gift of all natural products.

Every now and again I stumble across a company that makes their products in their kitchen with all natural ingredients from the roots up. Manor Hall Soap Company is no different. What is different is that they really do make the best of soaps and face, body, hair, hand and foot care face products with the highest quality of vegetarian and vegan products that are beneficial, all natural, smell delicious and eco-friendly.

The Company started only two years ago in Springfield, Massachusetts. Using the cold process and only natural ingredients and quality oils (without preservatives), Manor Hall makes natural bar soaps by hand. Forget about colorants or fragrances (and of course, they never test on animals), you can easily see and read each and every ingredient on all labels and product pages.

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What I love is the way they vary a little in shape, size and weight since they’re cut by hand. Even the packaging feels so wholesome. You can smell the goodness from the paper.

One of my favorite soaps is the Sesame Ginger Me™. This sweet orange-citrus bar isn’t just a delight to smell, it’s also great for calming irritated skin. And it’s full of great oils like olive, coconut, palm, organic soybean oil, organic sesame oil, as well as ginger spice, turmeric and lemon peel. You know you’re slathering on the best.

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Looking for a great cleanser that cleans without drying out your skin? Try Manor Hall’s In Your Face Natural Foaming Facial Cleanser. Containing tea tree oil and lemon essential oil, you can get cleaner pores that become hydrated. Your skin will feel soft, smooth and supple.
I’ve always hated getting gift sets with perfumes soaps and body lotion that literally stink. And really if you don’t know someone’s favorite fragrance don’t assume it. So why not give them something that smells naturally good and is also good for their skin? Jason natural holiday gift sets can satisfy all your cranberry cravings.

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Did you know cranberries aren’t just good for kidney and urinary tract infections? They also fight free radical damage that can cause premature aging and irritated skin. Jason Cranberry Trio of scrub, body wash and body lotion is the prefect gift for anyone who wants a reinvigorating shower/bath experience. In addition to delivering antioxidants to the skin, these cranberry formulas are infused with soothing aloe vera and matricaria (chamomile flower) dry skin becomes soft, hydrated and smell delicious. Jason products are available in most health and natural food stores including Whole Foods.

We all know how the holidays can bring on flus, sinus, colds and aches. Fight them off with a Kneipp Sparkling Herbal Bath Tablets. These alka-seltzer-like tablets are the perfect aroma-therapeutic treat that invigorates and wakes up the system. Activated by warm water, release aromatic essential oils to help renew mind and body. They come in a wide range of herbs from lavender, spruce, rosemary, vetiver, juniper and more.

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And if you’re sinus prone, indulge in Kneipps Thermal Spring Bath Salt eucalyptus. Essential eucalyptus oil stimulates and helps clear the senses especially during cold and flu season. And if you’re not suffering you just feel more relaxed. It’s like a mini sauna treatment.

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Here’s a company that I hadn’t heard about but has been making healthy headlines for over 10 years all over the country: The Organic Bath Company. Developing personal care products that are as good for your body as they are clean for the environment, OBC recognizes that by every choice we make, we shape the future of this planet. That’s why they honor the rich tradition of herbal wisdom: to ensure those herbal benefits are preserved.

All of Organic Bath products are cruelty free, have no petroleum based ingredients, no paraben or other toxic preservatives, no sodium lauryl or laureth sulfates, no alcohol or artificial coloring or fragrance. Because as they say, “natural means natural” at Organic Bath Company.

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The White Tea Body Scrub is loaded super anti-oxidants, and purifying salt to renew lackluster skin. That’s not all, mango extracts, aloe vera gel and jojoba and apricot seed oil work loofah-like wonders to rid skin of unwanted rough stuff. For a great gift set, try their A Little Luxury Lavender Vanilla 5 piece gift set. Like a spa to go, you can bring with you everywhere. This set includes: one exfoliating wash Cloth, a Gentle Body Wash, a Super-Hydrating Body Lotion, a Rich Exfoliating Body Scrub and a Botanical Bubble Bath Petal. In addition to lovely lavender vanilla aromas, your skin will benefit form the natural goodness of nourishing extracts, jojoba oils and non-irritant moisturizers. The perfect gift for someone who likes to pamper themselves with a spa-like treatment at home or at the gym.

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Who says men are complicated? They’re all about simplicity. That’s why they’ll love this 2-for-1 moisturizer for face and body. Double Duty Moisturizer for Face & Body, which is full of organic white tea and Jojoba to help moisturize skin all over. The Double Duty line also offers a Hair and Body Cleanse and a Smooth Shave and Bread Softener.

Desert Essence is not only the first brand to introduce Tea Tree Oil to the United States, but has a complete line of innovative personal care, spa and active sport products which are sold throughout the United States, Canada and parts of Europe. Desert Essence organic Tea Tree Oil is an inherently antiseptic pure essential oil grown organically in Australia, guaranteed free of herbicides, pesticides and chemicals. Certified organic through third party testing.

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One of my favorites is Tea Tree Oil Skin Ointment. Laced with sweet almond oil, organic tea tree oil, jojoba oil, calendula extract and lavender, this delicious smelling formula works great on sensitive dry skin for face, cuticles, minor burns etc. Before you slather it on, clean your skin with Natural Facial Cleansing Pads that are formulated with herbal extracts to gently remove dirt form pores. You’ll visibly see how clean your skin looks and as the texture of your skin looks better too. The Desert Essence mission is to deliver quality, natural-based products that improve the lifestyles of today’s most health-conscious consumer. Desert Essence is part of the Country Life family of brands, a leader in the nutritional supplement industry for over 35 years.Look out for Desert Essence products in Whole Foods.

She coined the phrase “AcuFacial” and then trademarked it. The smartest business move she ever made she admits. Her name is Shelli Goldstein, a trained licensed acupuncturist you can find at the Eva Scrivo Salon in the West Village, who uses her wisdom of ancient Chinese medicine and highly effective facial massage treatments to improve skin texture, decrease fine lines and lift and tone facial muscles. After analyzing your skin, examining your tongue and checking your pulse, she already foresees the weak spots, knowing that a good complexion and unclogged pores can be signs of poor digestion and weak lungs.

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When the needles are strategically placed throughout face, legs and arms, you feel the bad energy leave your body and await the next step of the treatment in a blissful state. After being completely relaxed, the best is yet to come. Shelli isn’t just a trained acupuncturist, her facial strokes are so invigorating, relaxing and really help tone muscles. From my experience, she’s one of the best facialists in the city.

That’s not all. Shelli’s also very knowledgeable on diet, skincare trends and what products to use to suit your skin type. Layer after layer of wonderful Yon-Ka products, I could tell my tired, dehydrated skin was already feeling more awake. After an almost a two hour treatment of needles, massaging hands and nourishing products, I knew my skin and I were feeling the better for it. I looked at my skin to see a fresher, younger looking, less exhausted complexion. Plus, I felt so much better, less tense and more relaxed. I think Shelli has also coined another new phrase acumazing!

Discover the AcuFacial™ at Eva Scrivo Salon on 632 Hudson St (between Jane Street and Horatio Street) New York, NY 10014 (212) 677-7315

Originally published December 2006
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