By Vennie Chou, Skin Expert and Natural Skin Care Teacher
I started studying and developing natural skin care over 20 years ago.
I work in a Western Medicine field, but I have a strong passion for the wisdom of traditional medicine, especially Chinese Medicine. I strongly believe that there is a harmonious blend of both medicinal fields.
In Western medicine, I learned the physical structures of our skin and how the structures relate to one another. However, the traditional medicine focuses on the actions of the botanicals and how our body reacts or behaves to their properties. This knowledge is developed from historical observations and valuable experiences. This is important. This is clinical experience along with evolution. We cannot separate ourselves from the natural environment.
When the environment changes, we need to change how we take care of ourselves. We eat different foods to balance effects of seasonal changes and we use different blends of personal products to protect our skin at different times.
When I create a formula, I have to develop three dimensionally.
In one dimension, I have to think about blending the scents. The natural scents have to be harmonious.
The second dimension, I have to consider the environmental changes on our body and what botanicals to use to balance the environmental effects.
The third dimension is to balance the energy of botanicals with the movement of energy or ‘Chi’ in traditional Chinese Medicine.
Different parts of a single plant can have different effects on the body.
Natural world is alive and constantly changing. Our body and skin are alive and constantly changing. Therefore, what we use on ourselves has to work with the changes.
This is sustainable natural skincare, especially if we learn to use plants that evolve with the environmental changes. Learning to create natural skincare is an active process that brings us closer to nature.
By Vennie Chou, Skin Care Expert,
Teacher and Histology Immunology Marker Expert
Learning to make skin care products changes the way we look at plants.
It adds another dimension to our appreciation for nature… from seeds that nourish to flowers that sooth and roots that heal.
One of my favorite things to do is nature walk. When I walk through a Rose Garden, not only I admire the beauty of the colours and varieties, but I am also inspired by their inner strength and beauty… their healing properties. I can think of so many ways to use roses by taking them apart according to their solubility and putting them back into several products that we can use daily. Even drinking rose tea can reduce stress and anger from work or school.
As I walk further, I see a row of bright yellow trees… Forsythia.
Those cheery yellow flowers will eventually fall and turn into seed pods in the fall. To me, it is a living medicine for sore throat and pimples. It is not only a strong antiseptic that Forsythia uses to protect its seeds for propagation, but also can be made into useful and beneficial skin care products.
There are many dandelions along the trail. I have to give my respect for their strength and the will to live without much care and even after rooting in a small amount of soil.
They have soothing and anti-inflammatory components that make them survive. I can definitely incorporate those natural components in lotions and cream.
I walk into a gift shop and notice a table full of harvested lavender from the garden.
The scent is a calming joy that I can extract to use for stress and headaches. I see it also as natural anti-itch medicinal plant for insect bites.
As I walk through the exit, I notice several Magnolia trees with big, beautiful blossoms.
The petals have warming properties. I can just imagine soaking in a Magnolia bath on a cold rainy spring day.
Making skin care products is a useful tool to transform nature into products that we can use daily.
Product design naturally develops from the harmonious blend of this tool, knowledge and inspiration.
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What do I Need to Feed my Dry Skin and to Keep Warm
by Vennie CHOU, Natural Skin Care Expert
As we enter months of fall season, we can feel the cooler dryer weather. Nature is busy trying to shake off the leaves off trees, so the dead leaves can decompose and provide nutrients for the soil that plants and trees feed on. I also look for what I can use from nature in this season to feed my dry skin and to keep warm.
I decided to make bath salts that I can use in body and foot baths. I pulled off petals from two Marigold and blended the fresh flower petals with Epsom salts. Marigold is very soothing for the skin and colored the salts a beautiful soft yellow. The petals completely disappeared into the salts.
I sprinkled a little Safflower petals as Safflowers helps with circulation. To prevent itchy dry skin, I added my red infused Gromwell oil and grated a little coco butter into the bath salts. For scents, I sprinkled some dried orange peel grains that I saved for my tea. I also added little bit of black pepper and ginger essential oils. Ginger, black pepper and a hint of orange warm the body and increase blood circulation.
This is definitely Fall inspired bath salts using colors of fall and scents to warm the soul and body.