Facial Care

The great thing about all natural skin care is that it's not just about using natural beauty products—it's also about nourishing your skin from the inside. Project Wellness serves as a natural skin care blog that can help you decipher which products to use and how to feed your skin internally. We'll continue to fill the blog with natural skin care tips, from cleansing rituals to hydration to the latest and greatest product ingredients. In one easy spot, you'll find information about natural skin care that draws from clinical research and the expertise of our estheticians, including information about natural sun protection and natural makeup looks that are perfect for every woman.

  • Essential Oil of the Month: Tea Tree

    Tea tree oil can be found in almost everything these days. It’s taken from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, native to the northeast coast of Australia, and has long been used by Australian aborigines for its healing properties.

    What it does
    Tea tree’s antibacterial and antiviral properties make it a healing tool for everything from acne to sunburn to infections. As such, tea tree oil can be a valuable addition to a summer first aid kit.

    Bonus use
    Tea tree can be an effective household cleaner—simply combine 2 teaspoons oil to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.

    Ways to use it

    • Add to unscented body care (e.g. lotion, shampoo or conditioner) to increase their effectiveness. Tea-tree infused shampoo can even help combat dandruff and head lice.
    • Apply to blemishes several times a day (with a cotton swab) to speed healing
    • Add a few drops to a bowl of steaming water and inhale to promote respiratory clearing. Can also be added to a vaporizer or to a hot bath.

    Interesting tidbit
    Bees that feed on flowers of the Manuka bush, a close relative of the tea tree plant, produce Manuka honey, also known for its antibacterial properties.

  • Make your own bug spray

    While we love Pharmaca's all-natural bug repellents (check out Badger's Anti-Bug Balm or Quantum's Buzz Away), we also like the idea of making our own insect repellent with a few of our favorite essential oils.

    According to an article in Whole Living, "Essential oils that have pungent, spicy, or woodsy odors repel insects by masking our natural scent." They offer up this recipe for a DIY repellent,  perfect for mixing in one of our My Own Blend bottles:

    5 drops patchouli essential oil
    2 ounces of witch hazel
    8-10 drops of cedarwood essential oil

    Apply frequently on clothes (don't spray on face). Enjoy the outdoors!

    Read more at Wholeliving.com: Bugs-Be-Gone Spray Recipe
  • High praise for mineral sunscreen

    The question just seems to keep coming up--how do I choose which sunscreen is right for me? Are there mineral sunscreens that won't turn my skin white? In a recent article in Boulder's Daily Camera newspaper, Camille Capone, an esthetician at our North Boulder store, helped suss out what's best.

    "Mineral sunscreens actually create a seal on the skin that reflects the sun," Camille said. That means less absorption, better reflection and, unlike chemical sunscreens, you don't have to apply them 30 minutes before being in the sun. She loves Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30.

    The Environmental Working Group has long been preaching about the safety and effectiveness of mineral sunscreens, and the article cites new nanotechnologies that are making minerals lighter and more invisible on the skin.

    So don't be daunted by the white skin--if you haven't tried a mineral sunscreen yet, stop in to Pharmaca to speak with an esthetician about the latest and greatest in mineral sun protection.

  • Do you know Jurlique? Indulge now...and take 20% off!

    Jurlique has been perfecting plant-based skin care for more than 25 years. Based in Australia, Jurlique has always placed an emphasis on connecting with the earth and hand-crafting specialized formulas from nature’s most perfect ingredients. From biodynamically farmed herbs and flowers—grown on their own 153-acre farm—to Australian superfruits, nothing but the best ingredients go in each Jurlique product.

    And, in the month of July you can save 20% on Jurlique’s entire line of skin care, both in our stores and online! This rare event is the perfect time to try their Herbal Recovery line, a cult classic that customers love for its potent blend of age-defying antioxidants and precious plant oils.

    Here at the Pharmaca office, we’re addicted to their Rose Hand Cream, an ultra-rich smoothing cream that makes your hands softer than you could ever dream (try all four amazing scents with this Hand Cream sampler—perfect for gift-giving).

    We also love their Calendula Cream, a practitioner-recommended treatment that’s ideal for soothing wind- and sunburnt skin, especially good during the summer. The Calendula Cream also packs in macadamia and avocado oils, aloe vera and herbs specially selected for their healing and toning properties.

    If you haven’t discovered the utter luxury of Jurlique yet, take advantage of our July sale to treat yourself to something wonderful. Read more about the Jurlique story...

  • Product Spotlight: Dr. Hauschka

    If you've never tried this luxurious German line of skin care, you should know that it's one of Pharmaca's top-sellers. Hauschka offers the best in botanical ingredients in everything from shampoos to hand creams to cosmetics.

    The majority of ingredients in Dr. Hauschka's products are grown either biodynamically or organically, and all with a great deal of thought and consideration for the earth's natural growing processes. Their ingredient philosophy is a perfect fit on Pharmaca's beauty shelves.

    Dr. Hauschka skin care has been available in the US since 1972, and its popularity has grown as people have discovered the simple efficacy of their products. People love the Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream, especially great when followed by another customer favorite, the Rose Day Cream. Hauschka even offers homeopathic remedies to create a complete wellness regimen for your skin and body.

    Because it's one of our best-sellers, Pharmaca offers a lot of great sales on the whole Dr. Hauschka line. This month? The entire line is 20% off. Check back for different Gift with Purchase offers, too—they're the perfect way to discover Hauschka!

    Already love Hauschka? Write a review of your favorite product and tell us why!

  • FDA announces new sunscreen labeling rules

    The Food & Drug Administration revised its 33-year-old rules on sunscreen labeling this week, mandating that sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB radiation before they can be labeled "broad spectrum."

    The new regulations also state that only sunblocks with an SPF rating of 15 or higher can claim that they help prevent sunburn or skin cancer. Finally, sunscreens can no longer be labeled waterproof or sweatproof, and instead will need to state the minutes for which the product is "water-resistant."

    A New York Times article about the new rules explained that the FDA is also undertaking further testing of the safety of current sunscreen ingredients and seeking further comment about the necessity and efficacy of SPFs over 50.

    Want more important information about the dos and don'ts of sunscreen? Join our Practice Safe Sun Campaign on Facebook.

  • New reasons to keep your sunblock natural

    According to a new article in Women’s Health magazine, some common ingredients found in chemical sunscreens could be not only dangerous to your skin, but also to the bodies of water you’re swimming in.

    “Twenty thousand tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers, divers, and surfers into the oceans every year, eventually affecting marine life, according to a 2008 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives,” says the article.

    The offending chemicals? Octinoxate, oxybenzone, parabens, or camphor derivatives, commonly found in sunscreens, can kill hard corals, eventually disrupting the biodiversity of the ecosystems in which they live. If you want to steer clear of these chems (for coral's sake!), Women’s Health recommends Alba’s Mineral Sunblock, a Pharmaca favorite.

    Other interesting tidbits from the article:

    Replace your sunblock often. While most products are made to last up to three years, if they’re baking in the sun or in a hot car, there’s a good chance they’ve lost some efficacy. Our estheticians often recommend replacing your sun care every year no matter what.

    Certain nutrition can actually increase your natural sun protection. The article cites a study in the British Journal of Dermatology that researched the power of the antioxidant lycopene (found in fruits like watermelon and tomatoes).  Women whose diet included 16 mg of lycopene every day for 12 weeks showed a reduction in the damage created by UVA and UVB rays. So keep eating your fruits and veggies--and keep slathering on that good sunblock.

  • Just say no to white legs

    A few months ago, jane iredale came out with a new self-tanner that works to make skin tanner in just a few days: Tantasia. We here at the Pharmaca offices have fallen in love with this good-smelling, non-streaky bronzer that really does add a few shades to our skin (that's still pale from covering up during this long spring).

    Grab a tube, then follow directions straight from iredale's youtube channel:


  • Balance Your Skin With Oils from Nature

    For most of us with oily, sensitive or acne-prone skin, oil has long been a no-no in our skin care regimens. Turns out that school of thought may have been wrong. Natural oils can actually help maintain our skin's all-important moisture balance, and keep us from drying out or feeling too oily.

    "Your skin's natural moisture factor is water and oil," says Leticia Domingo, esthetician at our Los Gatos store. "If either is lacking, the skin becomes imbalanced." Leticia says that imbalance can be especially problematic for people prone to acne, because too little moisture can make breakouts worse and impede the healing process. She adds that oil is an important vehicle for our skin to absorb water, and can be essential for boosting the efficacy of common water-based moisturizers.

    Several Pharmaca products are geared specifically for aiding in this process. Jurlique's Skin Balancing Face Oil, for instance, is filled with rich botanicals that not only feel good, but smell good. Primavera also carries a number of oil-based serums and capsules that can boost hydration levels.

    Here's how to use them: After cleansing, Leticia recommends warming a small amount (the size of a dime or nickel, depending on how much your skin can handle) in your palm, then patting on to the face. But, she says, don't go overboard. "Less is more! Don't slather it on."

    If you have too much oil, simply pat onto your neck or décolleté, where it can also be very beneficial. "The oil is basically going to assist your moisturizer in nourishing the skin," says Leticia, so you really want to use both.

    Start using the oil in the evening, to judge how your skin will react. In extremely dry situations, go ahead and use it in the morning, too. Once your skin's oil is back in balance, even acneic skin will begin to heal, and your skin will be softer and more radiant. This balance is also vital in an anti-aging regimen, where, as Leticia says, "the most important step is preventing dehydration."

    For extra-dry skin, look for rich oils from nut sources such as almond. For oilier skin, try a lighter version such as grapeseed or apricot kernel oil. Leticia also likes squalane, a plant-based oil that is engineered to mimic our skin's natural oil content. "In serums, squalane restores hydration and penetrates fast so it doesn't sit on the surface of the skin and oxidize," says Leticia. "Then the other active ingredients are pulled into the skin more quickly and deeply." Find squalane in Sanitas' Vita C Serum, and other treatment serums.

    Speak with a Pharmaca esthetician about how natural oils can help get your skin back in balance.

  • Own sun care products lauded by Real Simple

    Discover Own Bio-Activating Skincare, now in Pharmaca stores!

    Real Simple magazine just lauded the Own Active Block Ball for its great protection, safe ingredients and innovate application method. Discover Own's other sun and skincare products at Pharmaca or online here.

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