June 01, 2018

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The Flowers We Love That Love Our Skin

Flowering plants are full of skincare benefits that go well beyond their fresh scents and bright colors. Now that the sun is finally out and flowers are in bloom all around us, we wanted to focus on a few of our favorite florals that pack some of the most potent benefits for our skin.

1. Orchids

There’s a reason these flowers seem to last forever. Orchid oil (found in our Orchid + Blackcurrant Face Serum) is highly reparative, protective, and hydrating. Often used to reduce the look of fine lines, orchid extract also acts as a powerful antioxidant, which benefits all skin types. Especially if you live in dry or busy, polluted areas, natural products containing orchid are great for protecting your delicate skin against environmental factors while helping to regenerate and renew your complexion. 

 2. Yarrow  

Yarrow is a natural astringent that works to shrink pores and promote skin healing, which makes it great for those with particularly oily or acne-prone skin. It's also an anti-inflammatory so it helps to treat and reduce redness. Because of its antiseptic properties, yarrow promotes and expedites healing, helping to reduce scarring from acne. Yarrow can do all of this while softening and soothing your skin, instead of drying it out. Our Blue Yarrow + Geranium Oil Cleanser (pictured above with a yarrow bloom) harnesses the power of yarrow to reach deep within pores, removing impurities, dissolving makeup, and leaving your skin hydrated, toned, and fresh. 

3. Rose 

Rose is super effective for soothing and calming your skin. Because rose is naturally anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, products containing rosewater or rose essential oil are great for acne prone or damaged skin. You can also depend on rosewater to balance your skin's pH levels. Everything that comes in contact with our skin, like our products, the sun, pollutants, etc., has an effect on our pH levels. Maintaining a healthy balance for your skin is important because when your pH levels are out of whack, your skin is less able to protect against bacteria and other common skin irritants. Spritz some Aloe + Rosewater Balance Mist over your face post cleansing to replenish, hydrate, and nourish, while restoring your skin to its optimum levels. 

4. Calendula 

Calendula (also known as marigold) is valued for its skin brightening benefits. Because calendula extract can actually help promote collagen production in the skin, your skin cells regenerate faster, giving your skin its glow back and keeping it from looking dull. Calendula is also remedial for skin issues like blemishes, scars and eczema. Because it's rich in vitamin A and vitamin E, calendula is effective at fighting free radicals and making your skin soft and strong. For a deeply moisturizing and brightening skin treatment, lather on the Calendula + Lycopene Hydration Mask and rinse off after 15-20 minutes for glowing, hydrated skin. 

5. Lavender

We all know lavender is a popular aromatherapy ingredient for calming your nerves, but lavender is also highly beneficial when applied topically. Not only does it help soothe your complexion, it's also a strong anti-inflammatory and highly anti-bacterial, so it's great for helping detoxify your skin and calm breakouts. Lavender helps to relieve itchy, dry skin and decongest irritated skin through gentle hydration. 

For your body, lavender helps to soothe tired muscles and increase circulation to keep cells healthy and renewed. We use lavender in several of our products because of all its versatile benefits, like the Lavender + Sea Salt Bath Soak, the Sweetgrass + Lavender Bar Soap, the Lavender + Frankincense Original Oil, the Lavender + Labdanum Body Oil, and more. So lather up, breathe in deep, and let the luxurious floral notes soothe you inside and out. 

6. Helichrysum 

Also known as the everlasting flower, helichrysum got its nickname because of the flower's retention of its bright yellow color after being picked or dried. This nickname can also apply to the ways in which helichrysum can help your skin as helichrysum oil is ultra restorative, protective, and rejuvenating. Helichrysum works to reduce the appearance of age spots and discoloration and, since it's highly moisturizing, helps plump the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. The Helichrysum + Violet Fortifying Face Oil is also high in gamma linilenic acids, making it highly anti-inflammatory and reparative. 

- Hannah

May 11, 2018

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Keeping Your Skin In Check During A Long Flight

Any kind of travel is bound to take its toll on you, but there’s something about flying specifically that threatens to wreak havoc on your skin. The stale cabin air, the stress of making it to your gate on time, the loss of sleep from being trapped upright between two strangers for hours on end, all combine to equal bad news for your face. With memorial day coming up, you may be anticipating the stress of an in-flight breakout, so here are some helpful tips to keep in mind so you can keep your skin (and your sanity) in check while you’re coasting 30,000 feet above the ground.

  1. Exfoliate

There’s actually a scientific reason your skin tends to break out so badly on planes (it’s not just you!) and it’s because, counterintuitively, the air is so dry. The air in an airplane cabin consists of about half the humidity levels of the air your skin is probably used to. Your skin will try to make up for the lack of moisture by quickly over producing oil. This excess of oil will then get trapped beneath dead, dry skin, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. To combat this, exfoliation is essential. Our Passionfruit + Rose Enzymatic Exfoliation Mask is a great way to quickly and effectively get rid of that excess layer of dry skin. Acids from fruits like pineapple and grape will eat away dead skin cells to leave you looking fresh and glowing, even if you’re running on 3 hours of sleep. Plus, it’s a clear, gel layer so your seat mates probably won’t even know you’re masking. 

  1. Moisturize

Next, up: slather on as much hydration as you think you can handle. This will calm your dehydrated skin and help prevent it from overproducing oil. Keep a face mist on hand (ours come in travel sizes!) like the Aloe + Rosewater Balance Mist for an extra boost of hydration and to keep you feeling refreshed anytime throughout the flight. Next, a face oil like the Orchid + Blackcurrant Antioxidant Face Serum has a ton of benefits for all skin types, but can be especially helpful for dry skin prone to breakouts. Orchid oil is deeply hydrating and blackcurrant oil is a strong antioxidant that helps fade blemishes, restore moisture to skin, and protect against general airplane grime and pollutants.

  1. Hydrate

Always bring more water than you think you’ll need. Buying Smartwater at the airport terminal is always going to be expensive, so try bringing a big, empty water bottle through security and finding a place to fill it up at the gate (sometimes the flight attendants will refill it for you if you’re nice). Staying hydrated is super important for keeping your skin healthy and for keeping your mood levels up while you’re in the air. Your skin will thank you even if your neighbor with the aisle seat doesn't. 

  1. Hair care

A dry shampoo is super easy to throw in your carry on and can make such a big difference to your in-flight comfort levels. Our Flowers + Pink Clay Dry Shampoo is a powder (TSA friendly!) that will absorb all the excess grease and grime, leaving your hair looking and smelling fresh with a subtle floral scent. Just apply at the roots, tousle, and return to your seat. Easy. 

  1. Aromatherapy

Create your own personal mini spa experience with some pulse point essential oil aromatherapy. The Voyage rollerball is specifically formulated to help ease those travel woes. Lavender oil helps soothe and calm nerves, peppermint oil helps to elevate mood and get you feeling a little more optimistic, and ginger root oil helps you feel grounded and eases sea or car sickness. So breathe in deep and let your travel anxieties fall away.

  1. Meditate

Airplanes are difficult places to find calm. Taking a few minutes to meditate at home before you reach the airport is always a good idea to help you feel grounded while navigating security and ticket lines. But you can also try meditating on the plane. When start to feel any angst creep in, or you’re just so bored you’ll try anything to distract yourself, do a simple breathing exercise. Pop in some earplugs or noise cancelling headphones and close your eyes. Inhale for four counts, feeling your stomach expand, and exhale for eight counts, feeling your stomach contract. Repeat this for about three to five minutes. If you need some extra help finding your zen, there are tons of meditation podcasts you can download (like this one) before your flight and listen to in the air.


Hopefully this will help you fly a little easier and land feeling refreshed and renewed.

Happy travels!

 

April 09, 2018

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In Conversation With: Mazz Hanna, Crystal Healer and Celebrity Nail Stylist

Photo by Liz Bretz

Meet Mazz Hanna, L.A. based crystal healer and nail stylist to some pretty notable clientele. We first connected with Mazz after geeking out when we heard she had used our Lavender + Frankincense Original Oil on Greta Gerwig during her pre-Oscar’s manicure (we loved Lady Bird!). We wanted to chat with Mazz about the inspiration behind her gorgeous nail art, how to keep our own nails healthy, and how she incorporates crystal healing into her life and her work.

LBA: Can you take us through a little bit of your personal history and how you first got into nail styling?

Mazz: For as long as I can remember, I have always been obsessed with nails. I remember going on summer vacation to the Outer Banks with my family when I was in 7th grade and teaching myself how to do acrylic nails. I would do them for all of my friends and paint cute little designs on them—we thought we were the coolest. But how I got into professional Nail Styling as a bit more of a back story…

I had been working as a creative in advertising for over a decade in New York City, and was one day offered my dream job to lead a creative team in Los Angeles. My husband and I packed up our life in Brooklyn, our two kitties, and moved across the country. Once I got settled in my new role at the agency in LA, something that I had worked so hard and sacrificed so much for, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something missing in my life. I just knew in my heart that advertising wasn’t for me anymore—the career that had defined me for most of my adult life.

Getting my nails done and coming up with crazy nail designs has always been a way that I expressed myself creatively and made me truly happy. I decided that I wanted to open a nail salon in Los Angeles that trained all of its manicurists to master nail art – something that I had a hard time finding out here. So I quit my job (most terrifying decision I ever made) enrolled in nail school, and wrote a business plan with my husband. We started scoping out locations to open our salon.

While all of this was going on, a friend of mine in New York asked me to accompany a musician that he managed to a photoshoot for an ad campaign that she was going to be a spokesperson for. I was excited at the idea of being back on a set (one of the few things I missed about my advertising job), so I said yes.

Since I was in the throes of practicing different nail art techniques on myself, I had  these long crazy black nails with a shattered glass design. When I arrived to set and was introducing myself to the glam team, the Nail Stylists noticed my nails. One of the stylists was the legendary Jenna Hipp, green beauty expert and the founder of Nailing Hollywood, the agency that now represents me. That’s really how it all began.

Photos by Jennifer Bobe 

LBA: What inspires you when you’re designing?

Mazz: One of my favorite things about designing nails is helping the person get excited about going outside of their comfort zone. I would say that about 90% of the time, people generally don’t know what they want. I always turn to art, fashion, and nature for inspiration and try to encourage my clients to do the same thing. The possibilities are truly endless, and it’s so much more fun than copying something off of Pinterest or Instagram.

LBA: What nail trends are you especially excited about at the moment?

Mazz: Being a crystal healer, I can’t help but get excited about the fact that crystal inspired nail art is having a moment. Even before it was a thing I would turn to crystals for inspiration, and I’m so happy that others are doing the same. One of my favorite practical designs for my celebrity clients is a rose quartz design. It’s so subtle that it doesn’t stand out on camera, which is really important when they need to keep a nude nail for work. It’s like their little secret.

LBA: How exactly do you incorporate crystal healing into your clients' wellness routine?

Mazz: Crystals are integrated into all of the services that I offer my clients. One of the first things that I always do when I get a new nail polish or body product is to have a sage smudging ceremony. Everything is made of energy, whether it be a nail polish or a skin serum, so I believe that cleansing and neutralizing that energy can have a big impact. Once everything is cleansed, I arrange a crystal grid to infuse love and light into all of my products.

I also offer my celebrity clients customized elixir and skin treatments based on their chakra needs. I create customized blends of essential oils and crystals, and massage them into their skin with a luxurious rose quartz hot stone massage. This is a great way to get them feel relaxed and realigned. Another thing I love to do is surround us with crystals during our treatment. It creates a soothing energy that helps them relax.

Left: Mazz working her magic on Greta Gerwig's nails. Left: Desi Perkins and Nicole Richie sporting manicures by Mazz. 

LBA: What are some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on recently?

Mazz: Being a part of Greta Gerwig’s glam team for award's season was so much fun! This industry can be a bit isolating because you’re on a different set each day, so it’s always nice when you get to see the same people on a regular basis. It’s also great working with a client who you get to know, because you can be prepared to give them a treatment that you know they will love.

LBA: We talk a lot about skincare for your face at Little Barn, but we often forget about our hands. Could you take us through a good self-care routine for healthy hands and nails?

Mazz: Funny enough, I almost exclusively use face products on my clients hands and feet! I just find them to be better quality and given how much of a beating our hands and feet take on a daily basis, they deserve the extra love!

Exfoliating is an important part of maintaining healthy and soft hands, and exfoliated skin soaks up oils and moisturizers so much better. After exfoliating, I always swirl an essential oil in a circular motion in the palms for a little dose of aromatherapy. After taking a few deep breaths and inhaling the healing vapors of the essential oil, I follow it up with one of my absolute favorite product EVER—the Little Barn Apothecary Lavender and Frankincense original oil. I first discovered it in a little boutique in Ojai, and it’s the product that made me fall in love with the brand. Since the oil is ultra moisturizing, I top it off with a pea sized amount of the rose and black pepper body lotion. I rub any extra product up the forearms and elbows for added indulgence.

-- Hannah 

March 26, 2018

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LBA x The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine

Recently, various versions of the traditional 10-step Korean Skincare routine have become a daily practice among skincare enthusiasts around the world. These routines are effective and comprehensive, but it can be hard to find a version that includes clean, natural beauty products that are safe for all skin types and the environment. We wanted to show you how we would recreate this popular beauty trend that covers all your skin needs in one daily routine. 

1. Oil-based cleanser

Starting with an oil based cleanser is crucial for breaking down makeup, dirt, moisturizers and sunscreens left over from the day. Our Blue Yarrow + Geranium Cleansing Oil, crafted for all skin types, gently dissolves build up without stripping your skin of the oil it needs. Apply it to a dry face, gently massaging away impurities, then rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

2. Water Based Cleanser

The double cleanse is an essential part of the traditional Korean skincare routine. Following your oil cleanser with a water based cleanser gets rid of any excess grime, makeup or oil that might have been left behind. Our Cocao + Chamomile Cream Cleanser is mild enough for normal, sensitive, and dry skin, and provides hydration as well as a deep cleanse. Daily application leaves skin feeling clean, never clogged.

If you have oily or problematic skin, try the Charcoal + Aloe Cleanser. The activated charcoal helps to draw out impurities in your skin while aloe nourishes and soothes. Work your cleanser of choice into dry skin without water to build a lather, then rinse with warm water.

3. Exfoliator

Exfoliating 2-3 times a week can make all the difference in getting rid of dead skin cells and built-up dirt and oil. While some exfoliating agents use harsh chemicals or harmful beads, the Tea Leaves + Seeds Dermal Abrasive can be used with any cleanser or oil for a safe, gentle, and effective scrub that's good for your skin and the environment. 

4. Toner 

The Aloe + Rosewater toner works to balance the pH of the skin’s surface while giving you an added boost of hydration. Cleansing and exfoliating can leave the skin feeling stripped so a good, hydrating toner should restore moisture and balance. Mist Aloe + Rosewater over your face and allow it to dry before moving on to the next step.

5. Essence / Serum

Essences are a staple in the Korean skincare routine that are beginning to gain popularity worldwide. They're especially  important when it comes to your skin’s nutrition and hydration. While some would argue that essences and serums are different and others say they’re basically the same, we agree that the The Witch Hazel + Sage Gel Hydrator works as the perfect water-based treatment with natural, pore-clearing salicylic acids for reparative effects on blemishes. Massage a small amount onto face and give it time to sink in and work its magic.

6. Treatments

While a number of products can be considered treatments (ampoules and boosters and serums, oh my!), the Lavender + Frankincense Original Oil serves as a great universal treatment. Packed with vitamins A, D, and E, plus copper, zinc, chlorophyll and more, this facial oil targets a range of problems from dry skin to inflammation. For dry skin that feels sunken or tight, the Helichrysum + Violet Face Oil works wonders. Press a few drops of either oil onto a clean face.

7. Masks

Though this step is usually reserved for a Korean skincare classic, sheet masks, we suggest regular use of the Calendula + Lycopene hydration mask instead. Sheet masks are super beneficial and fun to do on occasion, but daily or even weekly use can create a lot of waste. A thin layer of the Calendula + Lycopene gel mask offers some of the same nourishing agents found in many sheet masks, such as aloe vera and fruit enzymes, while producing way less waste.

8. Eye Treatment

Eye treatments target fine lines, puffiness, and darkness around the eye area. The Carrot Seed + Rosehip Eye Serum is an easy and effective alternative to expensive creams and treatments. Rosehip oil, a potent source of vitamin C and intense moisture, paired with Carrotseed oil, antibacterial and packed with antioxidants, provides lightweight, clean, and non-greasy nourishment.

9. Moisturizer

Seal in your routine  and soothe dry skin with the deeply moisturizing and reparative Borage + Botanicals Hydration Cream Concentrate. Suited for day and night use, this rich cream contains 8 botanicals, fruit extracts, and borage seed oil for ultimate hydration. Massage a thin layer over your face in the morning for enhanced moisture retention. Or, use a little more for an intense night moisture treatment. 

10. Sun + Environment Protection

It's important to note that none of our products contain SPF, but our Orchid + Blackcurrant Face Serum contains a powerhouse of vitamins and antioxidants that protect from harmful outside elements that can easily damage skin. Protection from environmental aggressors like pollution and harsh weather will keep skin healthy and glowing. Apply this serum each morning before your favorite face sunscreen for daily protection!

-- Anasha 

March 19, 2018

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All About Adaptogens

Adaptogens are natural substances that help your body adapt to and deal with different forms of stress. Simply put, they work to normalize you’re mood and energy levels, leaving you better equipped to handle whatever life decides to throw your way. Some are great for boosting energy and others are better at helping you relax or fall asleep. If you’ve taken a look at Instagram or the wellness blogosphere lately, adaptogens might seem like the newest trendy health craze. In reality, these natural substances have been used for hundreds of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions. And there’s many reasons why.

Because there are so many options out there, adaptogens might seem a little tricky to navigate at first. We wanted to give you a quick introduction to a few of our favorites here at Little Barn. If you’re new to the adaptogens world, it might be helpful to start with a just a few basic ones so you’re body isn’t overwhelmed with a slew of unfamiliar substances. And if you have any hesitations or pre-existing conditions, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before introducing anything new in to your diet.

1. Ashwagandha --

This is a great starter adaptogen. Sometimes referred to as “Indian Ginseng”, Ashwagandha works to soothe your nervous system and adrenals when you’re feeling anxious. Great for balancing hormones and helping you get a restful night’s sleep. It’s also a rich source of iron which is super beneficial if you have a menstrual cycle. Adding about a half-teaspoon to your tea or morning smoothie could help you feel focused and elevated throughout your day. Taking it at night could also help to induce a restful night’s sleep.

2. Cordyceps --

A mushroom based adaptogen, cordyceps is great for boosting liver and kidney function along with energy levels. It's super effective in fighting free radicals and has been used historically for reducing symptoms of coughs and colds, meaning it's great for your immune system. Most noticeably though, cordyceps increases your energy levels, making it the perfect addition to your pre or post workout routine as it can also aid in oxygenation of the body and improving muscle tone.

3. Reishi --

Reishi, also a mushroom based adaptogen, is tied to longevity, brain and immune function, and is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Often referred to as the “Queen Healer”, Reishi is perfect for stress relief. Add Reishi in to your routine to feel more centered, balanced, and in control as you go about your day.

4. Tocos --

Tocos is a potent source of Vitamin E which helps promote healthy skin, hair, and connective tissues. Made from rice bran, this adaptogen is super easy to add to your coffee as a substitute for milk because it has a pleasantly creamy taste. Tocos also assists in the removal of toxins from your body and is great for everyday use.

5. He Shou Wu --

He Shou Wu is a powerful longevity herb that has tons of benefits. It has been used for centuries as an aphrodisiac to boost libido and encourage sexual health. Additionally, He Shou Wu supports the endocrine system and contains high levels of zinc, so many people use it to stimulate hair growth and maintain healthy locks. It’s classified as a longevity herb but it also aids in stress relief. You can think of it as a good way to help calm your nerves, leaving you focused and ready to take on any challenges you may be facing.

6. Chlorella --

Chlorella is a freshwater algae that has a beautiful and bright bluish green color. It’s also one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods out there. It’s highly beneficial for your immune system but Chlorella’s real claim to fame is in its detoxification properties. This adaptogen binds itself to toxins and heavy metals like lead and mercury that might be lurking in your body and helps prevent them from being absorbed. It’s also a great source of iron, so it’s especially beneficial for those with menstrual cycles and/or anemia.

7. Chaga --

Chaga is often used as a grounding herb. High in antioxidants, it’s a great addition for immune system support and energy balance. It works to reduce inflammation and boost physical endurance. Because it contains melanin, chaga has historically been used to treat various skin ailments like eczema and psoriasis, so it’s great for giving your skin a little extra support and helping to protect you from sun damage. It’s also a great adaptogen to use for aid in digestion. 

If the thought of shoving a spoonful of bright green chlorella powder in your mouth makes you a bit nervous, here’s a quick and easy way to get those adaptogens in without having to deal with the bitter tastes. Try starting your day with an adaptogen-filled matcha latte. It’s super creamy and satisfying but chock-full of antioxidants and energy-boosting ingredients.

To make:

  • 1 cup nut milk of your choice
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ashwagandha (or other adaptogen of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp Chaga (or other adaptogen of choice)
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Honey or agave to taste (optional)

If you don’t have or can’t find coconut butter, make your own by throwing unsweetened dessicated coconut into a food processor and blending for about 10 minutes.

  1. Bring water to a boil in tea kettle or pot and let it cool slightly
  2. Add all other ingredients into your blender
  3. Pour hot water slowly into blender
  4. Blend until thoroughly mixed and your latte has a frothy look
  5. Add any additional sweeteners, to taste
  6. Pour into mug and enjoy

Hopefully this helps you better navigate all the options out there. And if you're an adaptogens expert, let us know if we missed any of your favorites! 

-- Hannah

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