The Science of a Relaxing Facial

Learn the science behind a relaxing facial, including pressure points, aromatics, my go-to products, and more.

It’s not uncommon as I’m wrapping up a facial for a blissed-out client, to hear the question, “Why are facials so relaxing?” It’s really no mystery. In fact, there’s a science to it. I’ve learned through experience and research that a relaxing facial requires understanding the body as an interconnected system, and putting that information to work with my hands — and the power of plants. Below, I’m sharing four ways I turn that knowledge into action, along with a few of my favorite botanical oils and creams that can help you take a facial to the next level of bliss whether you’re working with clients or treating yourself to a facial at home.

1. Vagus nerve

What it is: The vagus nerve connects the brainstem to the body, acting as a link between the brain and the heart, lungs, and other organs. It’s part of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates the automatic processes we don’t have to think about, like breathing, digestion, and heart rate. Specifically, it’s part of the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system, helping to decrease blood pressure and heart rate, bringing the body out of tension and into a calm, relaxed state.

Why it’s important for a relaxing facial: “Vagus” means “wandering” in Latin,” because this long nerve meanders from the brain through the neck, into the chest and abdomen.

My facials include a neck and shoulder massage that stimulates the vagus nerve, prompting the parasympathetic nervous system to lower blood pressure and deepen the breath, initiating a cycle of further relaxation. My favorite blend for this part of the facial is Stony Creek Aromatics Mind-Body Massage Oil, which I created especially for this purpose. The blend contains calm-promoting lavender, mood-lifting sweet orange, rose otto to regulate cortisol, sandalwood to slow the stress response, and patchouli to help clear a cloudy mind. It’s applied to the neck and shoulders, and it’s key to my recipe for a relaxing facial.

Many thanks to Elaine Economou at MOVE Wellness, for pointing out how valuable the vagus nerve is to a relaxing facial.

2. Pressure points

What they are: Pressure points are specific areas on your body that connect with larger systems, or energy channels, throughout the body. These were developed by the longstanding system of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and are built on the same foundational knowledge as acupuncture: the idea that a blocked channel can create pain or discomfort. Stimulating these points on the body stimulates the larger internal system, directing the body’s innate healing forces to where they are needed.

Why it’s important for a relaxing facial: Pressure points are found throughout the body, but those on the face — especially those along the center of the face — are believed by proponents of acupressure and acupuncture to:

  • restore focus
  • promote calm
  • reduce anxiety
  • improve sleep

I like to enhance the relaxing effects of pressure points near the eyes — there’s one between the eyebrows and another at each of the temples — with Eminence Organics’ Lavender Eye Cream. This is an age-corrective cream formulated with leading-edge botanical science. Soothing and calming lavender is its star ingredient. It replenishes moisture as we work with pressure points, and relieves minor skin irritations. Both lavender and evening primrose bring aromatic benefits (more on that below), while Eminence’s unique anti-aging stem cell complex rejuvenates skin and leaves my clients’ skin radiant.

3. Energy meridians

What they are: The pressure points mentioned above lie along energy meridians, channels through which Qi (life energy) flows. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, these meridians link external points on the face, hands, and feet to internal organs — heart, lungs, bladder, intestines, kidneys, stomach, liver, and spleen — meaning a facial massage can stimulate and help balance the body’s internal systems. In Western medicine, energy meridians might be explained as the workings of the peripheral and central nervous systems, but these are really two completely different approaches to thinking about the body and its systems.

Why it’s important for a relaxing facial: Like acupoints, we can use knowledge of the meridians along the face to promote balance in the body as a whole. I love to use Eminence Organics’ Lavender Concentrate when I’m working with facial meridians. Like the eye cream above, this age-corrective formula is based on the latest research in plant-based skin care. It moisturizes and soothes as we move stagnant lymph fluid and blood, removing toxins and increasing circulation. This has benefits for the skin itself, and is another way a relaxing facial supports relaxation and balance throughout the body.  

4. Aromatics

What they are: Aromatics are highly scented plant extracts, typically sourced from fragrant herbs. You might be familiar with the term “aromatics” from its use in the kitchen. These plants are used in aromatherapy too, typically in the form of essential oils. The same volatile oils that hold the plant’s scent often possess constituents that benefit our skin and can even impact mood. 

Why it’s important for a relaxing facial: Different plant constituents have different effects, but my focus during a facial is typically on utilizing aromatics to relieve stress and reset the brain and body equilibrium. Lavandula angustifolia (common lavender) has a soothing and toning effect on the nerves largely due to its high linalool content. Research suggests the scent alone can alleviate tension and stress, and support healthy sleep. All of the products mentioned above — Stony Creek Aromatics Mind-Body Massage Oil, Lavender Eye Cream, Lavender Concentrate — employ the benefits of lavender as an aromatic in a relaxing facial. 

Perfect Pairing

Lavender Eye Cream + Lavender Concentrate: If you love lavender, you’ll love this collection, containing an eye cream and serum. Experience the relaxing power of lavender, with the added benefit of age-corrective skin care. Both products are from Eminence Organics, a skin care line that combines the best of nature and science for pure, plant-based products that get results. As part of your evening ritual, after cleansing, apply a lentil size amount of the Lavender Age Corrective Eye Cream to the entire eye area. Next, apply three pumps of the Lavender Age Corrective Night Concentrate to the entire face and neck. Finish with your favorite moisturizer.

Purchase the Lavender Love Collection for $117 (a savings of $21).

In Closing,

A relaxing facial is as much of a science as an art, and with a little knowledge and practice you can put these four factors to work for yourself.  Whether your giving yourself an at-home facial or you’re an esthetician in a spa setting, high-quality herbal preparations will help you take this experience from “nice” to “bliss.” You might want to get ready for that question: “What makes a facial sooooo relaxing?”

Gifting for others (or yourself)?

Schedule a facial or purchase a gift certificate to treat a loved one to a facial — or send the link to a loved one as an idea for a gift you’d be sure to use. 😉

Five Benefits of Rosehip Oil for Skin

Learn why rosehip oil is incredible for the skin, including its ability to slow signs of aging, reduce inflammation, and more!

When we think of a rose, most of us will envision a flower. But on some rose varieties, including the wild rose species of Rosa canina, the flower begets a small fruit. Called a “rosehip” it’s akin to a crabapple in shape, with a tart flavor. From the seeds of this fruit comes rosehip oil, a valuable, nutritive oil that can help protect skin from exposure to the elements. Below, I share five benefits of rosehip oil for skin, and how it’s used for protection and repair in three incredible products. 

Rosehip oil is pressed from rosehips, the fruit of roses.(If you’re as impressed with rosehip oil as I am, then be sure to check out the Rosehip Repair Collection for a special price on two of my favorite Eminence Organics products with rosehip oil!)

Five Benefits of Rosehip Oil for Skin 

  1. Promotes skin hydration and elasticity

Rosehip oil has high concentrations of essential fatty acids, according to a 2017 review of scientific literature. Notably, linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). These promote hydration and elasticity, improving skin’s moisture and tone. Although rosehip oil is appropriate for any season, it can really shine in winter, keeping skin hydrated in spite of dry air.

  1. Prevents damage from environmental stressors

Rosehip oil also has high concentrations of fat-soluble antioxidants, which benefit skin by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are an unavoidable byproduct of normal cellular processes, but the body creates more during encounters with environmental stressors like ultraviolet light and pollution. Within the body, free radicals scavenge electrons from other molecules, damaging cells and DNA in the process. Coming to the rescue, antioxidants readily offer electrons to balance free radicals, preventing oxidative damage (hence the name, “antioxidant”). So when the tocopherols and carotenoids in rosehip oil meet the skin’s lipid layer, it’s a wellness party for your cells that can help prevent damage from exposure to environmental stressors. 

  1. Protects from inflammation

Because free radicals cause damage that triggers the body’s inflammatory response (a natural part of the healing process, but is also the cause of many skin disorders), the neutralizing effect of antioxidants prevents the need for inflammation. So one of the benefits of rosehip oil, with its combination of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants, is that it offers strong protection against both oxidative stress and inflammation.

  1. Supports wound healing

A 2019 scientific study demonstrated that rosehip oil significantly promoted wound healing and effectively improved the appearance of scars. The study’s authors speculated that it might work by speeding a cellular response that supports the growth of new tissue and slows a different cellular process that can contribute to abnormal scarring.

  1. Slows visible signs of aging

The benefits of rosehip oil cascade from skin’s health to its appearance. As mentioned previously, antioxidant tocopherols, carotenoids, and vitamin C in rosehip oil neutralize free radicals, preventing damage to cell structure and DNA. Because cell damage and inflammation both speed aging, antioxidant-rich rosehip oil prevents damage at the molecular level and creates the conditions for repair, slowing the effects of aging on skin.

Special thanks to Jade Shutes, director of education for the School for Aromatic Studies, for pointing me in the direction of the 2017 review of scientific literature linked in numbers 1 and 3 above. Jade is a former president of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, and my go-to for information on fatty oils. Her class, Aromatic Studies Monograph Database includes invaluable research on fatty oils (aka carrier oils).

Rosehip Oil in Action: Protection and Repair for Skin

The three products below leverage the benefits of rosehip oil for skin. They were formulated to enhance repair and regeneration at the cellular level, and offer hydration and protection. (The Rosehip Repair Collection includes the first two. The third is a bonus recommendation for our 20 to 30-year-old clients.) All three products are from Eminence Organics, a skincare line with uncompromising standards for quality, ethical production, and results. 

Rosehip Triple C & E Firming Oil

Appropriate for use with all skin types, Rosehip Triple C+E Firming Oil hydrates deeply to plump the skin and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. The ingredients in this science-backed firming blend combine to tone and protect skin, increasing resilience to the elements. 

As the name suggests, rosehip oil is a star in this blend. It’s rich in vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene — antioxidants that neutralize damaging free radicals, promoting repair at the cellular level. 

Rosemary leaf extract and vitamin C bring a double dose of goodness to the dermis, the layer beneath the visible epidermis that gives skin strength and flexibility. Eminence Organics’ rosemary leaf extract is a patented, organic formulation designed to: 

  • fight glycation (damage to cells caused by sugar molecules that can speed the aging process) and 
  • promote the production of collagen and elastin 

And while most skin products with vitamin C can’t penetrate the skin’s lipid matrix — they’re water soluble — Eminence’s oil-soluble vitamin C is absorbed into the dermis, delivering antioxidant protection to the cells that produce collagen and elastin.

This firming formula also employs jojoba oil to nourish sebum on the skin’s surface, and sea buckthorn oil brings an additional wealth of antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.

To use, apply 2-3 drops of oil to your face and neck with circular motions once nightly. Alternatively, use 6-7 drops and give yourself a gua sha facial massage. Leave on. Follow with the application of the Rosehip & Lemongrass Repair Balm (below) for ultimate protection or the Rosehip Whip Moisturizer (also below) for a lighter application. 

Purchase the Rosehip Triple C & E Firming Oil here.

Rosehip & Lemongrass Repair Balm

Whether you’re up against drying wind, sun, or moisture-sapping winter air, this any-season balm is here for your skin. The benefits of rosehip oil shine in this blend, bringing essential fatty acids, and antioxidant vitamins C, E, and beta carotene to improve skin’s moisture, tone, and texture. 

Wax esters — jojoba esters, green wattle flower wax, sunflower seed wax — are also stars in this blend. Along with oil, wax esters are part of what make up your skin’s sebum. Waxes and oils are both lipids, have hydrophobic properties, provide antibacterial protection, and protect the skin against TWEL, or Transepidermal Water Loss.

Rosehip makes a second appearance in the balm as part of Eminence Organics’ signature Natural Repair Complex. Made from rosehip and rosemary, Natural Repair Complex speeds recovery of dry skin and protects from further drying. And the evolutionary wisdom of a cactus — prickly pear stem is rich in flavones, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals — brings soothing moisture while helping skin stay firm.

For ultimate protection against bacteria and moisture loss, use with the Rosehip Triple C+E Firming Oil. Apply the oil first, then the balm on top. This is most effective as part of your evening skin care routine, as the body naturally seeks to repair damages from the day while you sleep.

You can also use Rosehip & Lemongrass Repair Balm as a spot treatment anywhere on your body, (nostrils during cold and flu season, elbows, cuticles). Or on top of moisturizer before heading out for a winter activity, like skiing, to protect skin from further dryness.

Purchase the Rosehip & Lemongrass Repair Balm here.

Want the firming oil AND the repair balm? Purchase the Rosehip Repair Collection for $157 (a savings of $27). Note: The bundle does not include the moisturizer below.

Rosehip Whip Moisturizer

Rosehip and carrot combine forces in this whip to tone, soothe, and moisturize. Formulated for youthful, oily, or sensitive skin, Rosehip Whip Moisturizer uses rosehip extract to hydrate and improves tone and appearance. Of course, it’s also a rich source of antioxidant vitamin C.

Lemon, also high in vitamin C, assists in preventing oxidative damage, working to tone skin and reduce visible signs of aging. The whip also contains Eminence Organics’ unique BioComplex: a booster of antioxidants, Coenzyme Q10, and Alpha Lipoic Acid to minimize wrinkles and improve the overall appearance of skin.

To use, apply a layer of moisturizer over the entire face and neck. Leave on. Rosehip Whip Moisturizer is best for youthful, oily, and sensitive skin types.

In closing,

Exposure to environmental stressors — whether sun, pollution, or cold, dry air — is an unavoidable part of life. But skin that’s nourished with plant-based antioxidants and essential fatty acids can meet the elements with resilience, minimizing damage and supporting recovery. One of the top benefits of rosehip oil, then, is that it’s on our side in the quest to enjoy an active life and feel great in our skin.


Steps in a Facial: Tips from a Botanical Skin Care Specialist

Learn the 11 steps that Jessica follows during facials, plus product recommendations for at-home facial products!

Most of us book an appointment for a facial thinking about the clear, radiant complexion we’ll have in the days and weeks that follow. But a facial can be a restorative and relaxing ritual in itself. Especially when it includes cleansers and masques with botanical ingredients, plus a calming facial massage and stress-relieving aromatherapy. 

Below, I’m sharing the steps in a facial I follow for clients who come to my day spa. 

This botanically-infused experience leaves them glowing for days. And with the right products, you can replicate much of the process at home. Read to the end for product recommendations for at-home facials, including special pricing on the collection I’ve curated for you!

Step 1: Evaluate

At our spa, we do a short intake consultation to best understand each client’s unique skin concerns and the reason for their visit. At home, you can think about the goals for your facial as you review the products you have on hand. Hydration and exfoliation consistently come up in conversations with my clients, so those were top of the list when I crafted the product recommendations at the end of this post.

Step 2: Cleanse

The initial cleanse prepares the skin for the coming steps in a facial by removing any surface-level impurities. Even at this stage, the facial can be as much about restoration as purification. I use products that gently cleanse with plant-derived ingredients while revitalizing skin with antioxidants. Just the right amount of pressure stimulates circulation without stressing the skin.

Step 3: Exfoliate

Exfoliation is a two-part process, revealing a smoother, more radiant complexion. A scrub, like rice powder or olive seeds, polishes the skin while acids work to dissolve dead skin. A formulation using plant-derived acids, like glycolic and lactic, will take a deeper dive to assist the skin in its natural renewal process, without causing unnecessary irritation.

Step 4: Extract

Comedones are impurities within pores that give skin a rough texture. Typically, they’re caused by dead skin cells, excess oil, or bacteria. They can be open (blackheads), closed (whiteheads), or flesh colored. If needed, we’ll remove them at this stage. Even though this is one of the signature steps in a facial, not everyone’s skin requires extraction.

Step 5: Facial Massage

After the previous step, a facial massage feels divine. It also increases circulation, tones facial muscles, and calms the central nervous system. (Keep your eye out for a post in the coming months on the science behind a relaxing facial!)

Step 6: Masque

Corrective masques for your face and lips can draw out impurities, soften the appearance of large pores, deeply hydrate, tone and firm, or plump fine lines.. Products like the Snow Mushroom & Reishi Masque (profiled below) use plant-based extracts to deliver moisture on a cellular level and improve skin barrier function, boosting tone and elasticity. Look for a masque that also nourishes and protects skin, revealing a firmer complexion and boosting resilience to the stresses our skin encounters on a daily basis. 

While we wait for the masque to set, I give my clients a shoulder massage with stress-relieving aromatherapy.

Step 7: Tone

Here we want to tone the skin with a tonique, or tonic. Look for one that restores moisture and nourishes the skin. This is also a great place to include ingredients like antioxidants to fight oxidative damage, and plant extracts to revitalize the skin. Toning is one of the essential steps in a facial that will help the skin absorb and retain the benefits of the steps to come. 

Step 8: Serum

At this stage your skin is ready to drink in some serious goodness. Serums are easily-absorbed solutions that deliver moisture and nutrients at a cellular level. Different formulas address different concerns, and a serum could be rich in botanical lighteners,  collagen, or hyaluronic acid, to name a few possibilities. In general, they’re meant to moisturize, brighten, and firm the skin, leaving it truly healthy and glowing. 

Step 9: Moisturizer

Moisturizers are meant to be a moisture shield, occluding the skin at the precise level you need for your skin type. It can also serve to calm, firm, brighten, or increase the skin’s resiliency. Like serums, different formulas will aim for slightly different results, but all will work to hydrate and nourish the skin.

Step 10: Scalp Massage

One of the final steps in a facial, an invigorating scalp massage relieves tension in muscles near the hairline, behind the ears, and in the neck. In addition to feeling amazing, the massage increases blood flow to the scalp and may even stimulate hair growth. Mostly, it’s a perfect way to end the session.

Step 11: Look Forward

During our wrap-up consultation, I recommend the best home care routine for each client’s needs and lifestyle. You can recreate this at home with a mental review of how the facial went, and identifying what you’d like to focus on for maintenance until your next facial.

Expert Hands

A few features of the facials I do for clients either require training or must be done on an individual basis: 

  • Aroma Point Therapy, a method that combines the philosophies of aromatherapy and acupuncture
  • Energy meridian massage
  • Attention to individual skin concerns like dryness, a disrupted barrier, acne, excess oil, rosacea and telangiectasia, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and other skin disorders.

For a restorative facial from a botanical skin care specialist, schedule a facial with me today.

P.S. Want to do your own facial at home? Purchase this special collection bundle for savings (see products below).

At-Home Facial Collection

As I was putting together this specially priced collection for at-home facials, I looked for three products that would work together in an alchemical way to elevate exfoliation and hydration. This power trio covers the basic steps in a facial, and because all three work well for a variety of skin types, the collection can be woven into any skin care regimen. 

You can buy each of the below products individually, or you can purchase them together for a combined price of $128 (a savings of $42).

The products are made by Eminence Organic Skin Care, a high-quality botanical brand with wholehearted standards from formulation to sourcing. Their products combine science-backed, plant-based skin care with biodynamic (beyond organic) farming methods.

Note: If you get a restorative facial at my studio we may or may not use these particular products, depending on the needs of your skin at the time. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant

This exfoliator uses strawberry and rhubarb to reveal a brighter, more radiant complexion. Natural salicylic acid in strawberries gently exfoliates, removing impurities. It also has astringent properties that tighten pores. Rhubarb brings antioxidants to the formula, helping to prevent oxidative damage that leads to the appearance of wrinkles.

Rice powder and chickpea flour absorb oil and smooth skin texture. Heilmoor clay draws out impurities and softens the skin. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant also contains BioComplex, a mix of antioxidants including coenzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid that prevent damage at the cellular level, minimizing wrinkles and improving the appearance of skin.

To use, dispense a dime-sized amount into your palm and add a half teaspoon of water, or your facial cleanser. Rub your hands together to create a creamy paste and apply it to your face using circular motions, avoiding the delicate skin around the eyes. Gently massage the paste into your skin, then rinse thoroughly with water and pat dry.

Purchase the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant here.

Snow Mushroom & Reishi Masque

Deeply hydrate, purify, and tighten the appearance of your skin with this depuffing mask. Snow mushroom hydrates and improves skin barrier function, boosting elasticity. And reishi mushroom offers polysaccharides that help plump cells by binding to water. Birch water nourishes, purifies and hydrates the skin, leaving it toned and tightened. Paracress extract elevates the appearance of skin density, revealing a firmer complexion at any age. Caffeine also helps revitalize the skin’s appearance.

To use, mix a small amount of the product with a few drops of water in your hand. Apply the mixture evenly over your face, including the eye area, neck, and décolleté if you wish. Allow to dry for 5-10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water, use a face cloth if desired. Use 1-2 times per week, or as often as needed.

Purchase the Snow Mushroom & Reishi Masque here.

Birch Water Purifying Essence

Replenish skin and restores moisture levels. Nutrient-rich birch water purifies and hydrates the skin while botanically-sourced collagen increases structure and elasticity. Snow mushroom brings additional hydration and antioxidants to increase elasticity and improve skin barrier function. And polysaccharides in reishi mushrooms boost hydration while antioxidants reduce puffiness. The Birch Water Purifying Essence tones while preparing skin to absorb and retain the benefits of any serums or moisturizers you use next. 

To use, dispense a small amount of the product in your hands or on a cotton

 pad and pat onto cleansed and toned skin. Leave on.

Purchase the Birch Water Purifying Essence here.

Purchase the At-Home Facial Collection for a special price of $128, here.


30 or Older? Plant-Based Peptides for Skin Can Help You Age Radiantly

Explore the benefits of plant-based peptides for the skin + product recommendations to age beautifully.


Fine lines and wrinkles are inevitable as we age, but the first time we see them on our own face it can come as a shock. In a culture that celebrates youth, it may be an unwelcome surprise. But we can help shift that culture by giving our skin appropriate care as it matures — it’s one way to show the world we’re worthy of top-notch treatment no matter our age. In this post, I’ll explore three products with plant-based peptides for skin at 30+ and two more as a bonus for those on the cusp of 50. But first, I’ll explain how peptides can help your skin continue to glow naturally — revealing your radiance at any age.

(If you love this post, make sure to check out our Plumping Peptide Collection, which combines three of the products for a special savings of $53!)

Tapping Into The Benefits of Peptides For Skin

Peptides are the amino acids that combine to make proteins in your skin. You’ve heard of collagen? Well, that’s made of polypeptide chains. (If you aren’t familiar with collagen, I’ll do a quick review below.) 

Studies have demonstrated that peptides provide numerous benefits for the skin.  These benefits include:

  • The inhibition of aging-related enzymes, including elastase, collagenase, tyrosinase, and hyaluronidase
  • Antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory actions
  • Protection against damage when applied topically or ingested

By applying peptides to the skin, you ensure your body has the materials it needs to make collagen, keeping your skin plumper, firmer, and more radiant. And you get some added protection from the daily damage of inflammation and oxidative stress. 

Collagen: Structural Support Stronger Than Steel

Collagen creates structural support throughout your body. Gram for gram, the collagen in your skin, tendons, and bones — Type I collagen — is stronger than steel. Without it, blood vessels, tendons, and skin would be very fragile. 

Your body makes its own collagen, but production decreases as we age. That’s one of the reasons our skin gets wrinkles. Collagen density begins to decline around age 30, at a rate of 1-1.5% each year. We do have some control over that loss by protecting against damage that degrades collagen. And certain products, such as those with peptides, can support collagen production.

Why Marine Algae?

With protein content of up to 47% of their dry weight, marine algae are gaining recognition as a sustainable source of bioactive peptides

Algae are rich in proteins, amino acids, vitamins A, B, and C, and elements including copper, iron and zinc. All of those components aid hydration, firming, and luminance. Many species also contain compounds that protect skin and, in turn, keep it looking youthful. 

Exposed to sunlight all day, marine algae have had to evolve innate protections against damage from UV light. Those compounds — a range of pigments, polysaccharides, phenol, lipids, and proteins — have been shown to protect our skin from oxidative damage as well. 

A review of scientific studies found that algal extracts have the following actions:

  • antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-pigmentation (evening dark patches of skin)
  • anti-aging
  • anticancer

Algae’s antioxidants play an underlying role in all of the above. That’s because UV-induced oxidative stress contributes to inflammation, melanin-pigment production, aging, and DNA damage that can lead to cancer. By neutralizing free radicals and preventing oxidative damage — especially the accumulation of reactive oxidants, sometimes called reactive oxygen species or ROS — we prevent the eventual repercussions of it too.  

Brown and red algae have, thus far, shown the greatest potential for human use. That said, most algae possess similarly beneficial compounds. 

Age-Corrective Solutions For Skin

The products I recommend below incorporate the benefits of collagen, algae, and peptides for skin. They are geared towards those 30+ who want to slow down the loss of collagen and hyaluronic acid. (Three are part of a collection with special pricing, and the last two are bonus mentions.)

Is anyone else getting the idea that these

products would be a great alternative to botox and fillers? There’s no shame in choosing those options but I have committed to an all natural route. I’m thrilled with the Marine Flower Peptide collection for that reason!

Speaking of which, all of the products are from Eminence Organics’ Marine Flower Peptide Collection. This skin care line has uncompromising standards for quality, effectiveness, and ethical production. 

Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream 

This rich eye cream reduces visible signs of aging, hydrating the delicate skin around your eyes to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles.

The formula contains botanical peptides derived from rice protein, and red algae extract with vitamins, minerals, and amino-acids. Botanical hyaluronic acid from beet root smooths and plumps skin, preventing water loss to help maintain long-lasting hydration and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

The eye cream also contains Eminence Organic’s unique Smart Collagen+ Complex, blending:

  • Botanical collagen from yeast, which has a smaller molecular structure than animal-derived collagen, making it more recognizable to skin
  • Marine algae to increase firmness and bring long-lasting hydration
  • Bulbine leaf, which activates type 1 collagen, according to Eminence

For best results, apply to the entire eye area twice daily, patting gently with fingertips until fully absorbed. Leave on.

Purchase the Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream here.

Marine Flower Peptide Concentrate

This cream gel acts as a plumper and filler, thanks to the brown algae. Suitable for all skin types, this lightweight formula helps skin look firm and targets visible signs of aging, giving a revitalizing boost that reveals smooth, more supple-looking skin. 

It contains botanical peptides from rice protein to reduce the appearance of fine lines and leave the skin looking energized, and blue-green algae extract, a natural retinol alternative that reduces the appearance of wrinkles without harmful side effects. Finally brown algae extract (from Pelvetia canaliculata) lends skin a firm, supple appearance.

To use, apply 2-3 pumps to cleansed skin once or twice daily. Temporary, mild tingly is normal. Leave on. Follow up with a moisturizer.

Purchase the Marine Flower Peptide Concentrate here.

Marine Flower Peptide Lip Serum

Like the concentrate, the lip serum plumps and fills with the help of brown algae (Padina Pavonica this time). Reach for this silky serum to reveal smoother, plumper-looking lips while improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the lips and surrounding area. 

In addition to the brown algae extract, this formula derives its peptides for skin from rice protein to reduce the appearance of fine lines and leave lips looking energized. Botanical collagen from yeast helps give skin structure, working in tandem with the botanical hyaluronic acid, which binds to water to smooth and plump the skin. Brown algae extract (from Padina pavonica) helps the skin look firm, elastic, and hydrated.

To use, dispense a small amount of product and use the oval tip applicator to massage the serum into lips and surrounding area. Leave on, and reapply as often as needed. You can wear this on its own or under a lip balm or lipstick.

Purchase the Marine Flower Peptide Lip Serum here.

Want all three of these incredible products? Purchase the Plumping Peptide Collection for $161  (Special savings of $53.)

For Radiant Skin at 50 and Beyond

While the collection above is for those 30 and older, the two products below were formulated for clients age 50 and older who may already be experiencing a loss of collagen in the form of deep lines and wrinkles.

Marine Flower Peptide Night Cream 

This rich, velvety overnight essential is formulated specifically for delicate, crepey skin. Lock in moisture and smooth, hydrate, and tone while you sleep. Botanical peptides from rice protein and from the superfood sacha inchi give skin a firmer, lifted appearance, minimizing wrinkles. Blue-green algae extract acts as a natural retinoid-alternative to further minimize the look of wrinkles.

For best results, apply a layer over the entire face, neck and décolleté area and leave on. For extra hydration at night, apply a light layer of the Rosehip & Lemongrass Repair Balm on top.

Purchase the Marine Flower Peptide Night Cream here.

Marine Flower Peptide Serum 

A client favorite, this potent gel serum delivers concentrated plant peptides and botanicals to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for visibly smoother, plumper and more youthful-looking skin. It’s suitable for all skin types, but was formulated for aging skin, with Smart Collagen+ Complex to rejuvenate the complexion while unique algae extracts increase firmness and provide long-lasting hydration.

Smart Collagen+ Complex contains:

  • Botanical collagen from yeast, which has a smaller molecular structure than animal-derived collagen, making it more recognizable to skin
  • Marine algae to increase firmness and bring long-lasting hydration
  • Bulbine leaf, which activates type 1 collagen, according to Eminence

The formula also features botanical peptides from rice protein, blue-green

 algae extract as a natural retinoid-alternative that reduces the look of wrinkles, and nutrient-rich red algae extract, packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino-acids to reduce visible signs of aging.

To use, apply a thin layer over the entire face on clean, dry skin. Layer a lipid-rich serum, if desired, and moisturizer on top.

Purchase the Marine Flower Peptide Serum here. 

In Closing,


We can’t stop time. But we can age with radiance, allowing our nourished skin to glow even as we grow older. These carefully formulated skin care products — backed by science showing the benefits of peptides for skin — can help you look radiant at every age.

Wondering which product to try first? 

Book a virtual skin care consultation with botanical skin care specialist Jessica Goneia. Jessica is a knowledgeable guide who can offer recommendations specific to your skin type and the environmental stressors you face day to day. She’ll follow up with samples delivered to your mailbox! 

Request a virtual skin care consultation.

5 Best Natural Skin Care Products: From Summer to Fall

These are Jessica’s five favorite natural skin care products for the transition from summer to fall — all from Eminence Organics.


We’ve featured many amazing natural skin care products on this blog over the last year. With fall around the corner, I wanted to highlight five client favorites that will help skin recover from any damage that occurred over the summer and transition seamlessly into your autumn and winter skin care routine. I always like to help you shop smart so there’s no need to worry that you have products sitting unused.

Bamboo Firming Fluid

As the name suggests, the Bamboo Firming Fluid helps achieve tighter-looking skin. It’s great for normal to dry skin, and especially mature skin. The product’s namesake, bamboo, brings antioxidants, proteins, and vitamins to the mix — nourishing skin as the retinol alternative tightens.

The plant-based Natural Retinol Alternative supports aging skin with benefits similar to retinol (a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A):

  • Increases skin healing
  • Promotes healthy cell function
  • Smooths uneven skin texture
  • Minimizes fine lines & wrinkles
  • Keeps skin firm and plump

All this, without the unwanted effects reported with regular retinol use — redness, irritation, UV sensitivity, peeling, and itching.

Eminence Organics’ Natural Retinol Alternative Complex uses a blend of chicory root and tara tree extract and was developed by scientists from Pfizer. Chicory root increases cellular turnover with oligosaccharides that stimulate skin cells’ healing response, helping your skin shed dead layers more efficiently and replace them with healthy new cells. This process activates collagen and elastin production to soften fine lines. Mixed with tara tree extract, this Natural Retinol Alternative increases collagen levels by 25% in just 6 days!

Order Bamboo Firming Fluid, here.

More Products Like This: A Natural Retinol Alternative for Beautifully Aging Skin

Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster-Serumnatural skin care products

This extra-strength brightening serum from Eminence Organics is great for hyperpigmented skin (skin that looks darker than the skin around it, typically on the forehead, cheeks, neck, above the upper lip, and on the backs of the hands). It contains all natural skin care products.

Licorice extract contains liquiritin, a compound that helps disperse and remove melanin in the skin. It can help prevent new dark spots from forming, while fading existing ones. Licorice also contains antioxidant-rich compounds that benefit the skin. And it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce swelling and redness. 

Eminence Organics’ Natural Hydroquinone Alternative is made from African potato and tara tree. It offers the same skin-lightening properties as over-the-counter hydroquinone without the safety concerns, and it’s safe for all skin colors.

This serum also has lactic acid to gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. It’s a common ingredient in products to treat hyperpigmentation and age spots, and it’s gentler than many other acids used in skin-care products. 

The Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster-Serum also contains a trademarked concentration of “GigaWhite” that’s derived from well-researched plant extracts to brighten skin, including mallow, peppermint, primrose, lady’s mantle, and more. This serum is a Tyrosinase inhibitor, which means it blocks the enzyme that destroys healthy melanin production.

Purchase the Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster-Serum.

More Products Like This: Our Favorite Natural Products For Hyperpigmented Skin

Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil


There’s talk of regular mask wearing again, with new variants of COVID spreading and a new school year upon us. 

While there are steps you can take to avoid breakouts, you could follow every recommendation and still get maskne. To prevent it, pay special attention to exfoliation and hydration.

Cue Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil, one of my favorite natural skin care products for deep hydration. The main ingredient, camellia oil, is pressed from the seeds of Camellia oleifera, better known as the plant that gives us tea. The precious oil is prized around the world for being highly moisturizing, revitalizing, and rejuvenating.

natural skin care productsThis luscious, solid face oil also includes crushed pink tourmaline, a gemstone that encourages positive thoughts. 

Another prized ingredient in this moisturizing blend is marula oil, which contains up to 60% more antioxidants than Argan oil. It also has antimicrobial properties, making it a perfect option for anyone dealing with maskne. Marula oil is rich in fatty acids and combats visible signs of aging due to drying environmental stressors.

The final ingredient in this luscious formula is hemp seed oil that’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants and can improve the appearance of aging.

Add our Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil to your Skincare Routine!

More Like This: How To Treat Maskne + 3 Tips For Preventing It

Firm Skin Acai Exfoliating Peel 

This Eminence Organics exfoliating peel gets its name from acai berry juice, rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamins to improve skin tone. Best for normal to dry or mature skin types, this firming solution will hydrate as it exfoliates, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Supporting ingredients include: 

  • Grapefruit, packed with antioxidants and vitamin C to tone the skin.
  • Goji, a source of antioxidants and carotenoids. 
  • Lactic and glycolic acids, gentle and rejuvenating exfoliants that bring firmer looking skin.
  • Noni fruit reduces the look of inflammation and the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Sweet pea to improve skin elasticity and firmness.

Regular use of this peel will visibly increase skin’s firmness, restore its elasticity and reveal a smoother, softer, younger looking complexion.

Please note: Although this peel features natural skin care products, after using it skin will be more sensitive to the sun. Use a sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure while using this product.

Order the Firm Skin Acai Exfoliating Peel.

Strawberry Rhubarb Masque

Natural skin care products

Astringent strawberries gently exfoliate with naturally occurring salicylic acid, while rhubarb nourishes with antioxidant-rich vitamins. 

Hyaluronic acid from marshmallow plant extract binds moisture at the molecular level to smooth and plump the skin, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in tissue throughout the body, and is quite gentle on the skin. A quick review of its benefits:

  • Maintains hydration levels, giving skin a naturally radiant glow.
  • Protects against fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Supports the repair and regeneration of skin cells.
  • Helps maintain healthy stem cells.

​​Although our bodies produce their own hyaluronan, adding natural skin care products with hyaluronic acid to your routine can amplify its complexion-improving benefits. Our bodies produce less hyaluronic acid as we age, and the molecule is also degraded by exposure to UVB rays. A topical solution can help keep skin looking youthful, and may even help speed recovery from breakouts.

Finally, shea butter seals in moisture with its triglycerides and fatty acids, softening and soothing the skin.

Purchase the Strawberry Rhubarb Masque.

More Like This: Benefits Of Hyaluronic Acid For Skin: 3 Plant-Based Solutions

In Closing,

Late summer is a great time to help skin recover from seasonal stressors, whether that was a bit too much sun or a mask-related breakout. These natural skin care products will also transition well into fall and winter skin care routines, so you can continue to use them as the seasons shift. 

Shop all Eminence Organics products, here. 

Eliminate the guesswork with personalized skin care recommendations.

Discover the path to your best skin with a one-on-one consultation. Licensed Esthetician Jessica Goneia is a knowledgeable guide who can offer recommendations specific to your skin type and the environmental stressors you face day to day.

Schedule your virtual skin care consultation today!

Calendula for Skin Care: A Must-Have for Sensitive Skin

Calendula is a time-tested herb for skin. Learn why and uncover my three favorite calendula-based skincare products.

In today’s frenzied world, we’re up against triggers that irritate and inflame our skin every day. Pollution. Ultraviolet light. Even the food we eat can be a culprit. Over time, inflammation can dull our natural radiance. A normal part of aging? Sure. But by using calendula for skin care, we help stave off some of that damage.

Calendula (calendula officinalis) is a particularly good fit for sensitive or inflamed skin, and can help prevent other issues like acne, fine lines, or hyperpigmentation. In this post, I’ll explore three benefits of calendula for skin: its antioxidant constituents, anti-inflammatory effects, and skin-soothing properties. I’ll also share three products with calendula that I often recommend to my clients, and the reasons they’re effective (as usual, there’s special bundle pricing at the end!). 

A few interesting facts about Calendula officinalis 

  • This cheerful yellow flower is a member of the Asteraceae family (also home to daisies and sunflowers).
  • You may know calendula as pot marigold, a sunny flower that’s as useful as it is beautiful — attracting pollinators even as it keeps aphids away from other plants. 
  • Outside the garden, Calendula officinalis can soothe minor skin irritations and skin disorders, making it a perfect plant to try if you want to improve the overall appearance of your skin. 
  • The earliest known records of calendula show its traditional use as a medicinal herb. One of these, Andrea Cesalpino’s De plantis libri XVI (1583), says, “it is called Calendula in the vernacular, because it blooms monthly.” But I’m not sure this is to be taken literally, since I harvest the flowers every morning!

Why Use Calendula For Skin Care?

So why would you want to put products made with this flower on your face on a regular basis? Three reasons. 

Antioxidant Constituents

Calendula’s antioxidant constituents neutralize free radicals, protecting the skin from the oxidative damage that breaks down collagen and speeds aging. Oh, and because it contains antioxidants, calendula is also being studied for its potential ability to prevent cancer. (No big deal, right?)

Finally, the same flavonoids that offer antioxidant support play a role in the soothing power of calendula for occasionally irritated skin (more on that later).


I’ve experienced the anti-inflammatory powers of calendula first hand. Years ago, I slathered sunscreen on 

my daughter after handling some irritating plant oils in

the garden. She broke out in a rash — but after washing with a calendula cleanser and applying calendula oil, it was gone in 10 minutes.

Studies reinforce my personal experience, suggesting that calendula extracts have anti-inflammatory properties. Because inflammation can contribute to breakouts and inflamed skin conditions, regular use of calendula can be a first line of defense against minor skin concerns. 

Calendula preparations can also be used topically to minimize inflammation from acne and to soothe irritated tissue. There is also some evidence that calendula cream or ointment is effective in treating radiation dermatitis.

Personally, I haven’t seen evidence that calendula is skin-firming in itself, but it does have a preventative benefit on fine lines and wrinkles. When we minimize inflammation in the skin, we keep our skin barrier healthy, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.  

Skin Soothing

Calendula has a long history of use in enhancing the body’s natural ability to recover from minor wounds. Although a systematic review found weak evidence of this traditional use, it concluded not that calendula was ineffective but that more research was needed. In one promising clinical trial, calendula significantly sped the body’s natural healing response after C-sections. This ability makes calendula ideal for acne-prone skin.

Botanical Skin Care Featuring Calendula

Below are three products that all take advantage of the benefits of calendula for skin. All are from Eminence Organics, a line of plant-based products that combines biodynamic farming practices with the latest research in skin care. 

What’s biodynamic farming? It’s in the same constellation as organic and regenerative farming — but goes a little further. Seeds are planted and crops are harvested according to moon phases. Farmers regenerate soil using crop rotation, composting, and interplanting. They also save seeds. Generally, the farm is considered a living, self-sufficient system within an ever-changing cosmos. Demeter is the official certifying body for biodynamic products, and two of the three products in this collection are certified by the agency.

Eminence Organics never uses parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, propyene glycol, or animal testing. And thanks to these high standards, they consistently produce award-winning results. Each of the products below has won at least one industry award — those are listed when you click through to the product descriptions.

Sea Buckthorn Masque

Vitamin-rich sea buckthorn meets carrot juice and

 calendula, protecting skin with antioxidants and soothing dry, sensitive skin. Restorative jojoba oil revitalizes the

appearance of the skin, leaving it balanced and hydrated without clogging pores. This is a balancing and

conditioning masque for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

To use, mix a small amount of product in your hand with a few drops of water and apply evenly over the entire face. Include the neck and the décolleté if desired. Allow to dry for 10-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water or a face cloth, and apply your favorite serum and moisturizer. (Keep reading for a moisturizer containing calendula!) Recommended use is 1-2 times per week.

Purchase the Sea Buckthorn Masque here.

Apricot Calendula Nourishing Cream

Relieve dehydrated and sensitive skin with apricots, echinacea, and aloe. Apricot replenishes the skin’s moisture barrier. Calendula calms and protects with antioxidants. Yarrow soothes and rejuvenates. This powerful combination will support your skin’s natural healing capacity while flax seeds regenerate and revitalize to produce younger-looking skin.

To use, apply a layer of moisturizer over the entire face and neck area. Leave on. For a lighter application, emulsify a small amount of moisturizer in your hand with a few drops of water, tonique, or serum. For extra hydration, apply a serum underneath, or the Rosehip + Lemongrass Repair Balm on top.

Purchase the Apricot Calendula Nourishing Cream here.

Calm Skin Chamomile Cleanser

Chamomile gives this gentle cleanser its name, but 

calendula oil plays a strong supporting role in calming the skin and providing antioxidant protection. Arnica helps with delicate capillaries, grape leaf extract boosts the

antioxidant content, and rosemary rejuvenates and soothes. This calming cream cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin that is prone to redness.

To use, dispense half a pump onto finger tips of freshly washed hands. Apply directly to dry skin. Add a bit of water to finger tips if desired and massage cleanser onto your

face in a circular motion, covering the face and neck for 1-3 minutes. Completely remove by splashing with water or using a damp face cloth. Finish with an application of toner. (Stone Crop Hydrating Mist is a revitalizing and

healing toner for all skin types, particularly uneven skin.)

Purchase Calm Skin Chamomile Cleanser here.

Ready to see the benefits of calendula for skin care?

Purchase the Soothing Calendula Collection for $122 (Special Savings of $40)! 

Calendula for skin is a wonderful herb


Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for Skin: 3 Plant-Based Solutions

What is hyaluronic acid, and why do people use it? Given the complex and, well, acidic sounding name, it might come as a surprise to hear…

What is hyaluronic acid, and why do people use it? Given the complex and, well, acidic sounding name, it might come as a surprise to hear that hyaluronic acid (HA) occurs naturally in tissue throughout the body, and is quite gentle on the skin. In fact, it plays an important role in tissue health from eyes to joints. 

You might even say everyone uses HA, because our bodies make it. But many 

people supplement their skin care routine to maximize the complexion-improving benefits of hyaluronic acid.

Because hyaluronic acid is degraded by exposure to UVB rays — along with things we have less control over as we age, like our levels of estrogen and progesterone — topical supplements can increase your skin’s resilience to 

everyday stressors, slow the signs of aging, and may even help skin recover from breakouts.

Read on for more specific benefits of hyaluronic acid and to learn how it works. Or skip ahead to see the three plant-based hyaluronic acid products I recommend to my clients (and a sweet price on a special bundle!). 

My daughter, Julia, during berry season at Stony Creek Farm.

Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for the Skin

  1. Maintains hydration levels, giving skin a naturally radiant glow. 

Also called hyaluronan, this molecular chain of sugars (a glycosaminoglycan if you’re feeling fancy) can bind up to 1,000 times its weight in water

It uses that water to lubricate and cushion the body’s various tissues. In skin, the extra moisture is recognizable as the glow of youth — though other notable benefits of hyaluronic acid, like cellular regeneration and healing, play important roles in said glow, too.

In the skin’s outer layer, the epidermis, hyaluronic acid works its wonders from between cells as part of our extracellular matrix. This matrix fills the space from cell to cell, offering structural support and aiding in cellular functions. 

More moisture between cells means firmer, more luminescent skin. And the amount of moisture the extracellular matrix can hold is directly linked to the quality of the hyaluronic acid between your cells. 

2. Protects against fine lines and wrinkles. 

Beneath the visible epidermis, hyaluronic acid lubricates and protects proteins in the dermis, including collagen. Like HA, collagen gets a lot of attention for its ability to plump skin and ease joints. The two are active in many of the same processes, from wound healing to tissue regeneration, and work together in both the dermis and epidermis to keep skin structured, hydrated, and healthy. 

Collagen lends firmness, but HA can increase the stability and elasticity of collagen. Aging skin is associated with deteriorated collagen and loss of moisture from degraded HA, and research suggests that their functionality is intertwined — damages to one can impact the other.

3. Repair and regeneration.

Hyaluronic acid supports the repair and regeneration of skin cells and helps maintain healthy stem cells. From its position between cells, this molecule plays an important role in tissue repair and regeneration, helping to regulate inflammation and cell migration as part of the body’s innate tissue repair and regeneration processes. Additionally, hyaluronic acid supports stem cell functionsskin stem cells remain active in the renewal and repair of skin throughout your life.

4. Regulates inflammation and promotes healing, including acne lesions.

Expanding on the functions of repair and regeneration, hyaluronic acid is active in the body’s response to damaged tissue. It helps regulate both the onset and reduction of tissue inflammation, changing actions according to its molecular weight. (So cool!) At a low molecular weight, hyaluronic acid encourages inflammation as a first response to injury. And at a high molecular weight, it lowers inflammatory and immune responses. 

Hyaluronic acid also aids in the coordinated movement of cells during 

healing, and in the development of new blood vessels. These three processes — inflammation, cell migration, and angiogenesis — constitute the body’s main phases in healing wounds

Because it is naturally occuring and supports the body’s own healing mechanisms, hyaluronic acid is suitable for even sensitive or acne-prone skin, and may help reduce inflammation in lesions, and promote efficient healing. 

3 Ways to Supplement HA Topically

The plant-based products below offer the benefits of hyaluronic acid sourced from marshmallow plants. All three are from Eminence Organic Skin Care, a line that pairs the latest in scientific findings with ethically sourced botanicals for deeply nourished skin and a natural glow you’ll want to share with the world.

Firm Skin Acai Cleanser

This Eminence Organics cleanser gets its name from acai berry juice, which is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamins to improve skin tone. Hyaluronic acid from marshmallow plant extract binds moisture at the 

molecular level to smooth and plump the skin, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. Finally, nutrient-rich sea buckthorn berry protects skin’s moisture barrier, helping to further diminish wrinkles.

To use, mix a pea-size amount of the product with water in hands and pat on skin with your fingertips, covering the face and neck, for 1–3 minutes. Remove with a damp face cloth and apply toner. (Try the Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist for a collagen boost.)

Purchase the Firm Skin Acai Cleanser.

Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum 

Formulated to rehydrate dry skin, vitamin-rich strawberries and rhubarb work in tandem with botanical hyaluronic acid in this serum from Eminence Organics. Astringent strawberry helps tighten pores. Strawberry also contains natural salicylic acid for gentle exfoliation and brightening. Rhubarb contains vitamin C and antioxidants to help stave off oxidative damage, while aloe vera soothes and refreshes. Hyaluronic acid from marshmallow plant extract replenishes hydration between cells for dewy-looking skin.

To use, apply a thin layer over the entire face, or apply to areas in need of hydration 1-3 times per day. Because HA is a glycosaminoglycan, a chain of sugars, the Strawberry Rhubarb Serum can be sticky! I recommend it mixed into a moisturizer. For summer, try the Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer or Calm Skin Chamomile Moisturizer.

Purchase the Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Masque

Astringent strawberries gently exfoliate with naturally occurring salicylic acid, while rhubarb nourishes with antioxidant-rich vitamins. Marshmallow-derived hyaluronic acid plumps skin for a replenished, more youthful appearance. Shea butter, high in triglycerides and fatty acids, seals in moisture, softening and soothing the skin.

To use, combine a small amount of mask with a few drops of water in your hand. Apply evenly over the entire face as well as the neck and décolleté if you wish. Allow mask to dry 5-10 minutes then gently remove in a circular motion with a lukewarm face cloth. Rinse thoroughly with clear water.

Purchase the Strawberry Rhubarb Masque.

Purchase the Berry Hydrating Collection for $108 (Special Savings of $36)! 

In Closing,

Although our bodies produce their own hyaluronan, adding natural hyaluronic acid to your skin care routine can amplify its complexion-improving benefits. HA production dwindles as we age, and the molecule is also degraded by exposure to UVB rays. A topical solution can help keep skin looking youthful, and may even help speed recovery from breakouts.

If you have questions about hyaluronic acid or would like to find the most direct path to better skin, I also offer one-on-one consultations. During these, I give personalized recommendations for high-quality products tailored to your lifestyle and needs. I even mail samples so every purchase can be made with confidence!

Click here to schedule a virtual consultation.

Purchase the Berry Hydrating Collection for $108 (Special Savings of $36)! 

Acne Prone? My Top 3 Product Picks with Tea Tree Benefits for Skin

If you’re interested in natural products for acne-prone skin, then learning about tea tree is a great first step.

Is it overly dramatic to call acne the worst? OK, maybe a little. Still, heading into your day knowing any first impressions will be made with blemished, irritated skin would make even the most confident among us want to hide beneath piles of concealer and foundation. And for adults with problem skin, the frustration can be double: pimples and wrinkles, seriously? Fortunately, there are high-quality botanical solutions that can help. If you’re interested in natural products for acne-prone skin, then learning about tea tree benefits for the skin is a great first step.

I’ve seen formulas containing tea tree oil work first hand. In fact, I prefer it to benzoyl peroxide. Read on to find out why — and to see three plant-based products I recommend to clients with acne-prone skin.  (I’m offering a special price when you buy all three together!)  Note to teens and their parents: Although this post was written with adults in mind, this collection is also great to integrate into a teen acne-care routine.

Introducing: Tea Tree

Before we get too far along, what is a tea tree, and how do we get its oil? Melaleuca alternifolia is indeed a tree. Native to Australia, it has a long history of use as a topical antiseptic with a variety of antimicrobial activities. 

The essential oil of tea tree is extracted by steam distilling the leaves, a process that separates the volatile oils from the water and plant matter that make up the bulk of the leaf. Like any essential oil, it takes a lot of plant matter — typically hundreds of pounds — to produce even a small amount of essential oil. This is one reason why it’s important to purchase from ethical, transparent sources and use essential oils sparingly.

Tea Tree Benefits for Skin

Acne is a common reason people turn to tea tree oil. Others include dandruff, athlete’s foot, and lice — all testaments to its antimicrobial reputation. Precisely because it can be abrasive, tea tree might not be the best choice if you have sensitive skin, or conditions like eczema or rosacea. However, as part of a formula there can be exceptions, such as the Facial Recovery Oil I’ll talk about later in this post.

Tea Tree vs. Benzoyl Peroxide

Despite its popularity, I’m not a fan of benzoyl peroxide (BP) in the treatment of acne, in part because I know there are effective botanical solutions with fewer side effects. Dryness, pruritus (itching), and sensitization are all common side effects of BP.  And if you have darker skin, UV exposure can cause your skin to hyperpigment when using BP. 

In “Essential Oils for Healthy Skin,” a course I completed with renowned aromatherapy educator Robert Tisserand, I learned that tea tree oil is effective on Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes), and Staphylococcus epidermidis. It’s also anti-inflammatory.

Research has supported these claims. In a randomized, single-blind clinical trial comparing 5% tea-tree oil gel to 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion, both solutions significantly reduced the number of lesions for participants with mild to moderate acne. The tea tree oil took a bit longer to begin working, but performed at the same level as its more mainstream counterpart, benzoyl peroxide. 

In a separate randomized clinical trial, this one double blind, tea tree oil went up against a placebo. Participants using the tea tree product reported 3.55 times the improvement in number of lesions, and 5.75 times the reduction in severity. Side effects with both groups were similar and tolerable. In short, tea tree was several times more effective than a placebo, without greater side effects. The researchers concluded that topical 5% tea tree oil is an effective treatment for common, mild-to-moderate acne.

Some say more rigorous research is needed before we have a final answer on whether tea tree oil works. Until that research is done, I’ll rely on my experience seeing it work time and time again, especially as part of a well-crafted formula.

How Does it Work?

A lab analysis showed three constituents in tea tree oils — alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, and  terpinen-4-ol — act against  acne-causing microorganisms Staphylococcus aureus, Staph. epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes. In contrast, cineole, used as a control in the analysis, was inactive against these organisms. This study supports the use of tea tree oil in the treatment of acne, and shows that the oil carries multiple active constituents.

These are my top three product picks from Eminence Organics that take advantage of tea tree’s benefits for skin. 

Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser

Clear Skin Probiotic CleanserThis cream-gel cleanser from Eminence Organics soothes, tones, and purifies oily skin with tea tree oil and cucumber, and that’s just the beginning of why it’s won a few awards for best acne cleanser and face wash. Sweet almond milk and yogurt keep skin moist while helping reduce signs of problem skin and breakouts. With naturally occurring lactic acid, the yogurt is also gently exfoliating, helps lighten dark spots, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. Astringent willow bark extract works to remove excess oil and tighten pores. Finally, BioComplex: a booster of antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, and alpha lipoic acid help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve the appearance of skin (because it’s not just teenagers who get acne).

To use, dilute a pea-size dollop of cleanser with water in your hands. Gently massage onto your face and neck, moving your fingertips in a circular motion for 1-3 minutes. Remove the cleanser with a damp face cloth and apply toner. (If you’re looking for a toner, Mangosteen Revitalizing Mist is great for microcirculation.)

Purchase the Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser. 

Clear Skin Probiotic Masque

Clear Skin Probiotic Mask Eminence OrganicThis mask from Eminence Organics has been winning awards — especially for acne-prone skin care — since 2011. Yogurt brings the probiotic behind this mask’s name. As with the cleanser above, yogurt also offers a gently exfoliating lactic acid. Cucumber tones the skin for a radiant and clear complexion. This formula also contains replenishing shea butter, soothing calendula, and drawing kaolin clay, while taking advantage of tea tree benefits for skin. BioComplex reappears here for a boost of antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, and alpha lipoic acid, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and improving the overall appearance of skin.

To use, blend a small amount of mask in your hand with a few drops of water. Apply evenly over the entire face — include your neck and décolleté if you wish. Allow the mask to dry for 10–20 minutes, then gently scrub it off in a circular motion with a lukewarm face cloth. Rinse thoroughly with clear water and apply your moisturizer.

Purchase the Clear Skin Probiotic Masque. 

Facial Recovery Oil

Facial Recovery Oil by Eminence OrganicsThis toning, hydrating formula calls on clary sage oil to calm irritated skin and balance oil production, and olive oil to hydrate and soothe. Antioxidant-packed sage leaf extract rejuvenates and tones, renewing sensitive and aging skin. Ylang ylang cleanses, calms, and balances. Tea tree here is not a key ingredient, but plays a supporting role in the formula. This means Facial Recovery Oil works for my clients with rosacea and disturbed skin barriers who sometimes get some acne lesions. The oil is made with plants grown at certified biodynamic farms, and is suitable for all skin types. Like the others, it’s offered by Eminence Organics, and I’d be remiss not to mention it’s won its own share of awards.

More importantly, though, everyday people love this oil. As one reviewer wrote, “I have acne-prone, yet dry, skin that’s all over the place, depending on makeup, hormones, etc. This oil (nicknamed ‘My Precious’) corrects my acne!!” 

To use, apply 2-3 drops to your face and neck with circular motions, working your way from the center to the sides of the face.

Purchase the Facial Recovery Oil.

Another way to use this is to practice self massage with a gua sha facial stone. 

Quick primer on gua sha: This practice comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine, and involves “scraping” the skin. It is believed to boost blood circulation and ensure one’s qi is flowing, free of blockage. In the beauty world, the gua sha tool is used less vigorously to avoid marks — but regular gua sha facial massage is believed to promote lymphatic drainage and stimulate circulation, decreasing puffiness and brightening the complexion. 

Unsure how to use Gua Sha?  Follow along in my 8-minute Gua Sha video tutorial. 

Tea Tree Collection Bundle Eminence Organic

This technique can be used several times per week, in the evening, using the Facial Recovery Oil for slip. If you’d like to check with a skin care specialist before trying gua sha massage on acne-prone skin, see the link below to schedule a consultation with me.

Purchase a gua sha tool made from ethically sourced Jade, here. 

In Closing,

As much as it might seem like it, you’re not alone in your struggle with problem skin. And no matter your age, there are plant-based solutions formulated to help you. That includes tea tree benefits for skin — and so many other botanicals reaching out to support you, too.

Purchase the Tea Tree Collection for just $131 (savings of $43) here. 

And if you’d like personalized recommendations from a skin care specialist (the most direct path to your best skin) schedule a consultation with me.

Your Best Skin: 6 Benefits of a Virtual Skin Care Consultation

With a virtual skin care consultation, you can conveniently meet with a licensed esthetician to build a personalized skin care routine.

Have you ever noticed that we approach skin care routines and products with a “try this, try that” attitude? Our morning and evening rituals shift with trends, impulse buys, or the idea that what worked for a friend will work for us. But we all have different skin, with specific needs. In fact, you’ve probably noticed your own skin’s needs change with the seasons and with age. Fortunately, the path to radiant, healthy skin doesn’t need to involve trial and error. All you need is a knowledgeable guide who can offer personalized recommendations, and a virtual skin care consultation is a super convenient way to get started!

Here are six benefits to expect when you book a virtual skin care consultation with me.

1. Eliminate the guesswork with a personalized skin care routine. 

During our call, I’ll ask about your lifestyle and existing routines to uncover what’s working, and what isn’t. Next, as a licensed esthetician, I’ll create a skin care “prescription” that’s customized to your lifestyle and needs. I’ll explain exactly how to use the products I’ve recommended, so you can get the best results for your specific skin type. (More on that in points 4 and 5.) 

My goal is to help you create a personalized skin care routine that brings out your natural radiance and sets you up for a lifetime of beautiful skin.

2. Recommendations from an esthetician who specializes in botanical skin care.

If you believe healthy skin can come from natural, botanically-infused ingredients, I’m right here beside you. The products I suggest are pure, right down to their source materials — they’re made from organic plants that qualify for Hungary’s prestigious BioKentroll certification and the Demeter Biodynamic certification. 

The Eminence Organics line features seeds, pulps, peels, vegetables, herbs, and spices blended with scientific precision and based on cutting-edge research to protect against blue light, mitigate hyperpigmentation, and provide alternatives to retinol, to name a few. 

You won’t see chemicals like paraben, petrolatum, propylene glycol, or sodium lauryl sulfate on the labels. Eminence Organics is so impressive, you might start wondering what kind of utopia we’d live in if every business could strike such a balance between science and nature. 

3. Seasonal skin care to follow the rhythms of nature.

Depending on where you live, the facial cleanser you use during summer may leave your skin dry and tight in winter. Or you might benefit from a nourishing face oil in winter, and switch to a sun-protective boost in spring. A virtual skin care consultation will give you personalized recommendations for seasonal changes, letting you keep that radiant glow year-round — with an eye toward the years ahead. 

Just as our skin has different needs in summer and winter, our skin care routine will change through the seasons of our lives based on the activities we’re engaging in, the environments we spend time in, and our age. To fully meet these ever-changing needs, plan for regular appointments in spring and fall to discuss changes to your skin care prescription. May, for instance, is an ideal time to schedule a spring routine check-in

4. A chance to try new products with no risk.

Your virtual skin care consultation includes samples of every item in your skin care “prescription,” shipped to you. This is where our virtual call comes to life! I recommend very high-quality products, and I fully believe the investment in your skin is worth it. 

The Eminence Organics line holds itself to a rigorous standard, and the results are so effective the company has a long list of celebrity fans (people who get looked at for a living, mind you). 

I want you to experience the quality of this line for yourself, so after we talk about ways to improve the appearance and long-term health of your skin with natural, botanical products and daily rituals, I’ll send customized sample packs of all products I recommend for your day and nighttime routines. 

5. Follow-up support via email and text.

Right after our call, I’ll send an email about how to apply each recommended product, which order to use them in, and the amount of product to use. I’ll also let you know which products to prioritize so you can build confidence in your new routine. That way, if you’re not ready to invest in all of the products at once, you can start with one to three and then fill your skin care prescription over time. 

The one-on-one format of the virtual skin care consultation gives us the flexibility to work within your budget, addressing the most important elements of care first. And if questions pop up while using a new product, I’ll be available via text and email for one full month after the virtual skin care consultation for follow-up support.

6. Super convenient.

One of the best things about the virtual skin care consultation is that it gives you access to personalized recommendations from a licensed esthetician, no matter where you are in the United States. I offer day, evening, and weekend appointments, and we can meet via Zoom or FaceTime, whichever you prefer.

In Conclusion, 

Caring for your skin needn’t involve years of trial and error. In fact, a solid skin care strategy based on professional expertise will likely save you time and money in getting the skin you want. A virtual skin care consultation is a convenient and fun way to establish your skin care routine, complete with personalized recommendations for high-quality products that match your lifestyle and needs.

Ready for radiant skin that’s aging beautifully for years to come? Schedule your virtual skin care consultation today!

Our Favorite Natural Products for Hyperpigmented Skin

Hyperpigmentation can be caused by a number of factors, including sun exposure, hormones, diet …


Hyperpigmentation is a term that describes areas of skin that appear darker than the skin around it. The color can vary, and the patches typically occur on the forehead, cheeks, neck, above the upper lip, and on the backs of the hands.  Fortunately, the dark patches of hyperpigmented skin do not hurt or itch, they’re purely a cosmetic discoloration.

Risk Factors for Hyperpigmentation

The biggest risk factor for developing hyperpigmented skin is sun exposure. If you’re on medications that make you extra sensitive to the sun, then you’ll want to be particularly thoughtful about limiting your time in the sun. Everyone should ideally take preventative measures against sun damage by applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and wearing sun-protective clothing, like wide-brimmed hats and loose, long-sleeved shirts. 

In addition to sun exposure, a few other factors that increase the risk for hyperpigmentation are:

  • Environmental pollutants. People in highly industrialized societies are seeing an increase in the development of hyperpigmentation. 
  • Diet. A diet high in sugar and inflammatory foods triggers free radicals, causing glycation that can damage melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. Hyperpigmented spots resulting from glycation are called “age spots.”
  • Hormonal fluctuation. Pregnancy and contraceptives have both been connected with an increased risk for developing hyperpigmentation. In fact, hyperpigmentation during pregnancy is so common that it even has a nickname, “the mask of pregnancy.” Fortunately, hyperpigmentation related to hormonal changes typically fades naturally a few months after the baby is born or after contraceptives are stopped. 
  • Skin color. Black women and others with melanin-rich skin are at an increased risk of developing hyperpigmentation. This is because dark skin contains more melanin, which is more reactive to inflammation and injury.
  • Skin inflammation. Acne and ingrown hairs can cause temporary hyperpigmentation. This is called “post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” and it responds well to chemical exfoliants like the Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel that activate cellular turnover. 

It’s not at all uncommon for women to ask me about products for hyperpigmented skin when they visit Jessica’s Apothecary for facials or waxing. As a former sun worshipper with Greek lineage, I, too, am at an increased risk for hyperpigmentation. I’ve done my fair share of research over the years—both for my clients and myself—and here are the ingredients and products I trust most.


Jessica Goniea in Greece

Natural, Skin-Brightening Ingredients

Many of the products used to lighten hyperpigmented skin are harsh, and they are not always safe for darker skin or for long-term use. Fortunately, there are also natural, botanical-based products on the market, including the Bright Skin Collection from Eminence Organics, that can help lighten existing hyperpigmentation and are safe for all skin types. 

Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent that bleaches the skin and is used in many over-the-counter products for hyperpigmentation. There are safety concerns with hydroquinone, however, which is why I was excited to see that Eminence Organics includes a natural alternative in their Bright Skin Collection! 

Eminence Organics’ Natural Hydroquinone Alternative is made from African potato and tara tree, and it offers the same skin-brightening properties as over-the-counter hydroquinone without the safety concerns. It’s also safe for all skin colors, which is wonderful!

Licorice root is a skin-whitening ingredient that’s used throughout Eminence Organics’ Bright Skin Collection. Licorice extract contains liquiritin, an active compound that helps to disperse and remove existing melanin in the skin. This means it helps prevent new dark spots from forming, while also fading existing ones. Like many plant-based extracts, licorice contains antioxidant-rich compounds that benefit the skin. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce swelling and redness. 

The last natural, skin-brightening ingredient that’s used in both the Bright Skin exfoliating peel and boosting serum is lactic acid. Lactic acid helps gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. It’s a common ingredient in products to treat hyperpigmentation and age spots, and it’s gentler than many other acids used in skin-care products. 

These natural ingredients are used in select products throughout the Eminence Organics’ Bright Skin Collection, which I turn to often when working with clients who have hyperpigmented skin.

Below, I’ve outlined the 3-step protocol that I turn to when treating hyperpigmentation. (All of these products except for the Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel are safe for pregnancy.)

Step 1: Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel

As winner of “Best Brightening Peel” Green Beauty Awards, 2016, this sought-after natural product features all three of the ingredients highlighted above, along with mandelic acid, azelaic acid, and daisy blossoms, all of which help to brighten the appearance of pigmentation. I recommend this product for hyperpigmentation in general, and also for post-inflammatory pigmentation from acne lesions and ingrown hairs.

To use, dispense one to two pumps of the solution on one of the cotton rounds that’s provided with purchase. Apply in circular motions on clean skin, covering your face and neck. Use up to three times per week or as required. Purchase yours here, or keep reading for special savings if you purchase all three of these skin-brightening products together!

(If you’re pregnant and interested in a peel, I recommend scheduling my “Organic Facial for Expecting Mothers,” which includes even gentler skin-brightening ingredients that are free from glycolic acid and salicylic acid.)

Step 2: Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster-Serum


This extra-strength brightening serum can be used alone or with the peel to boost its effectiveness. It includes the three natural ingredients highlighted above, plus a trademarked concentration of “GigaWhite” that’s derived from well-researched plant extracts, including mallow, peppermint, primrose, lady’s mantle, and more. This serum is also a Tyrosinase inhibitor, which means it blocks the enzyme that destroys healthy melanin production.

To use, apply a thin layer over your entire face, or apply to the affected areas, 1-3 times per day. Purchase yours here, or keep reading for a special savings!

Step 3: Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream

This mattifying moisturizer is perfect for all skin types, including acne-prone skin, and is designed to address the look of hyperpigmentation while you sleep. In addition to licorice root extract, the Natural Hydroquinone Alternative, and GigaWhite, it also includes punarnava root extract, which helps even out skin tones and reduces the look of dark spots. Blended with bearberry extract and moisturizing shea butter, it’s no wonder this correcting cream was the winner of the “Brightening” category at the Best Product Awards, LNE & Spa, 2018.


To use, apply a thin layer over your entire face and neck area and leave it on. For extra hydration, I suggest layering with the Lotus Detoxifying Overnight Treatment on top.

Purchase your Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream here, or keep reading for special savings if you purchase all three of these skin-brightening products together!

Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream

Bonus Step 4: Bright Skin Masque


If you want to treat yourself to a special skin-brightening ritual, then try the Bright Skin Masque by Eminence Organics. It features bearberry extract, an antioxidant that helps lighten the appearance of dark spots, in addition to GigaWhite, licorice root extract, and the Natural Hydroquinone Alternative. This powerful masque is a wonderful boost to your regular skincare routine.

To use, emulsify a small amount in your hand with a few drops of water or Birch Water Purifying Essence. Apply evenly over your entire face, neck, and decollete. Allow masque to dry 10-20 minutes and then gently remove with a lukewarm face cloth. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Purchase yours here. 

Purchase the peel, serum, and overnight moisturizer together to save!

These skin-brightening products are most effective when used together. Start tackling your dark spots—and save money with bundle pricing—by purchasing all three of these products together!

Buy your skin-brightening, 3-piece set here for only $153 (valued at $203).

Professional Facials for Hyperpigmentation

Many of the facials that we give at Jessica’s Apothecary feature skin-brightening products to help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. In addition to the products above, we also offer medium-depth peels using Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and Mandelic acid. 

See your esthetician for a facial and to discuss the steps necessary to prepare your skin for a peel.

Schedule your Organic Facial here!  

Natural Products to Prevent Hyperpigmentation

The best way to prevent hyperpigmented skin is to reduce sun exposure and wear sunscreen (my favorite is the Lilikoi Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 40 by Eminence Organics). 

Vitamin C is photoprotective, which means it helps our bodies cope with the damage caused by sunlight. You could consider applying a Vitamin C-based product before you spend time in the sun (my favorite is the Citrus & Kale Potent C + E Serum by Eminence Organics). 

Eminence Organics’ Rosehip Triple C + E Firming Oil is another great choice when it comes to preventing hyperpigmentation. It protects the body’s melanin-producing cells from something called “glycation,” which is when proteins and sugars cross-link to form non-functioning structures. One of the causes of glycation is having too much sugar in the diet, resulting in premature aging and skin damage. Pair this natural product with a healthy diet that limits sugar. 

If you’re regularly exposed to environmental pollutants, then you may want to consider Eminence Organics’ Microgreens Detox Collection. This powerful trio harnesses the action of microgreens to cleanse and protect the skin from environmental stressors. It features the Stone Crop Cleansing Oil and the Lotus Detoxifying Overnight Treatment

In Closing, 

Hyperpigmentation is a common condition that happens to people around the world. Fortunately, you can take preventative measures by limiting sun exposure and sugar intake and by applying preventative products, like those mentioned above.

When signs of hyperpigmentation do occur, there are plant-based products that will help you lighten the appearance of dark spots without exposing yourself to potentially harmful chemicals.

If you have any questions about hyperpigmentation or would like to schedule a virtual consultation to discuss your skin’s specific needs, then contact Jessica directly at or 734-604-5971. 

Purchase your Skin-Brightening Trio for a special price, here.