By Chere Di Boscio
Organic plants harvested under a full moon. Amethyst, rose quartz and lapis lazuli crystals. Jade skin rollers. Chinese medical herbal concoctions. These are but a few of the ingredients finding their ways into beauty products, thanks to the latest trend in organic skincare – let’s call it ‘woo woo wellness.’
By that, I mean alternative wellness remedies that are revered by some, reviled by others, as being wonderful cures for ailments ranging from inflammation to sun damage. Even those who may not be willing to visit a nutritionist, acupuncturist or herbalist for a physical illness are more than happy to purchase skincare that is created based on the same principles.
It seems that first, consumers grew wary of chemical ingredients in cosmetics. After swapping to natural ingredients, they wanted more bang for their buck and sought out ingredients that work with ‘subtle energies’ like vibrations, natural seasons and the principles of Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine. But do these work?
We asked Andrea Sazwan, a chartered herbalist and Reiki master and the founder of skincare brand, Crystal Hills, based in the Okanagan Valley of Canada, for her thoughts.
First up: what difference does it make if a skin cream has crystals in it?
Using a product that has healing crystals in it, like a cream, lotion, or oil, can offer more holistic benefits for the person using them. Holistic means the individual is considered as a whole, taking into consideration the body, mind, and spirit rather than just one part of themselves. The person using a skin cream with crystals in it would not only receive, for example, extra lustre to their skin if rose quartz was incorporated, but they would also receive the added benefits of this crystal.
These are the additional benefits of crystals, as they bring benefits to your mind and spirit, and not just your skin. Keeping with the example of rose quartz, it is known for lifting up our vibration to the pure energy of unconditional love, allowing us to see the beauty in ourselves and the world around us. It is also known for helping when dealing with matters of the heart that involve loss or lovesickness. Consequently, the enhancement of our inner peace and beauty ends up being reflected on the outside as well.
Why do you think organic ingredients are important for skincare?
I think it’s really important to look for organic ingredients in your skincare as the skin is the human body’s largest organ and it does absorb topically applied products. This is why doctors can prescribe topically-applied creams that contain hormones, or a person can feel the effects from the use of a nicotine patch.
When products that are formulated with organic ingredients in their natural state are used, we allow their living and healing attributes to penetrate and rejuvenate the skin. Enzymes, vitamins, antioxidants, and the healing properties of the ingredients remain fully intact and more powerful. Organically grown means that the plant has been grown in healthy soil and it has not been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals, which can enter your body through your skin. It also means that you are getting a pure ingredient that has been created by nature, not one that has been genetically modified.
What kinds of experiences have you yourself had with ‘woo woo’ wellness ingredients, and do they work?
I have always been drawn to crystals but I really got into them after I was in quite a severe car accident that led to long-term migraines, fatigue, and memory problems. Neurologists determined that I was destined to have these issues for the rest of my life and said I needed permanent medication for the pain, but I decided to try more natural, holistic alternatives such as Reiki, medical qigong, acupuncture, and crystal therapy. I was able to completely recover without the help of medication and truly discovered the healing benefits of crystals while learning more about energy.
By incorporating crystals into my routine, I have also noticed other benefits that have impacted my life: my anxiety was calmed, a broken heart was mended, a boost in confidence when I really needed it, and more of a glow in my skin even though I’m in my late forties.
Why do you think there’s a growing interest again in healing crystals?
I believe that people are becoming more open to trying alternative ways to restore balance in their hectic lives, and to improve their health. In recent years, crystals seemed to be viewed as something that was more ‘out there’, antireligious, or something that was used by hippies. It seemed like there was a bit of a stigma attached to using them or believing in their beneficial properties.
People are coming to realize that crystals have been used since ancient times due to their healing capabilities, and that there is actual evidence to support that they are truly beneficial for us to use. To me, they are little treasures placed on the earth to help enhance our wellbeing, just as we benefit from incorporating grains, berries, vegetables, and herbs into our lives.
As a herbalist, what are some of the most common skincare complaints you hear from people?
The most common complaint I hear is that someone’s skin always feels dry and tight, or that it is looking dull. But as a Chartered Herbalist, I also get a lot of people asking what they can use for skin ailments like itchy skin, eczema patches, rashes, and so on. Friends and family will text me pictures of bumps on their children’s skin, or even their own, and ask what they are, and if I can create a healing concoction for them.
Which holistic solutions work best for those complaints?
Products that incorporate healing oils and other ingredients that work with the body to nurture the skin and restore harmony in the body. There are a variety of herbs, oils, and crystals that are truly beneficial to the skin.
For example, black cumin oil contains more than 100 active ingredients including minerals, vitamins B1, B2, and B3, and carotene. It is an effective moisturizer that helps to reduce the appearance of signs of aging and can soothe psoriasis and eczema. Aloe extract, which we also use in this line, has been used for centuries due to its healing properties. It is packed full of vitamins, minerals, plant sterols, amino acids, and enzymes. Aloe effectively hydrates the skin while reducing skin inflammation, and has the unique ability to stimulate cell renewal.
My personal favorite solution to enliven dull skin is to use rose quartz. This beautiful crystal can be found in our Crystal Love line, and I also include rose quartz in my own special formulation that I use for a daily facial oil. This crystal stimulates circulation, softens the skin, and promotes a rosy complexion.
In which direction do you see skincare trends moving?
I believe the next big trends in skincare will not only be “green” products, but items that offer more holistic benefits for the person as a whole. These days I see that people are becoming more mindful of their lifestyle choices, placing importance on organic, farm-to-table eating and GMO labelling, and that this is also transferring into skincare. I think people are also becoming more cognizant of what they put on their bodies, and this trend is growing as more and more people are becoming knowledgeable of the potential hazards of synthetic chemicals.