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The Promises and Lies of Toxic Beauty Care
Written by Sharon Houghton of SharAmbrosia All Natural Spa Store   

Safe Beauty Care - Who Can you Trust?

When you think of beauty products from well-known companies, visions of young beautiful models and starlets can easily come into your mind, or even heavily touched up mature ones. Along with these beautiful images, you’ll receive the stated and unstated promises of good health, youth, vitality, confidence and sensuality. These are the alluring ideas that most cosmetic manufacturers want you to think and feel as you watch their commercials or see their ads in magazines. These are basically the promises and lies of toxic beauty care.

Whole Living: You Are Beautiful
Shirley Makela's Whole Living Articles
Written by Shirley Makela of Alki Organix   

You're BeautifulIn my business making and selling natural skin care products I talk to a lot of people about skin care, I do continuous research, read posts in various groups that center around natural skin care, and think a lot about it all. I am fascinated by all the incredible gifts we have in nature for health and skin care but I find I am often conflicted. Not about the benefits of truly natural skin care, or even the need to care for our skin both by how we eat to take care of our bodies and how we treat the largest organ of our bodies, our skin. I am conflicted because I talk to so many women with lovely skin who believe their skin is still lacking ideal beauty somehow. They obviously don’t see what I see when I look at them.  They are beautiful.

 Recently a very beautiful mature woman with a radiant smile asked me what I made and recommended for wrinkles.  Now, mind you she didn’t look 20 or even 30, she looked like she took very good care of herself, she looked beautiful!  What raced through my mind was all the things I know about aging gracefully; avoiding excess sun, drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated, avoiding excess sugar in your diet, eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, avoiding processed food, getting enough sleep, using gentle natural methods for cleansing and keeping your skin protected, etc.  But what came out of my mouth before I even thought about it was this:

“Yes, look in the mirror at your beautiful face and reflect on the long and wonderful life you’ve been blessed with.”  My response surprised her, delighted her (very sweet) husband, and surprised me too!

 My head was busy thinking but my heart spoke without hesitation.


 As women, we are bombarded constantly with advertisements for this or that product promising that it will make us look 20 years younger overnight, create instant ideal ‘beauty’, fade any evidence our skin is giving us of our health or lifestyle issues we may be having, plus this or that new ‘breakthrough miracle’ skin product that’s yours for the low introductory price of “$X”.  Gosh, if I paid much attention to all of this I might start getting an inferiority complex.  Certainly at times it makes me wonder if I am in the wrong business because I simply do not agree with, or support, the constant barrage of messages telling us  that we must strive to a some ideal of beauty and as women must desire to look forever young. That seems to be the message from skin care companies that is repeated over and over.  


 As a mature woman I’ve lived long enough to see many changes in attitudes over the decades, good changes, and changes still in progress. I remember all too well when the ideas about a woman’s proper role were quite different than today. But even with all the changes in the past 30 or 40 years this idea that as we grow older we, as women, should always desire and strive to look ‘young’ stubbornly persists.  Only time will tell whether the generations of young women alive today will have the same experience as my generation but they are certainly getting just as bombarded, and I’ve heard many beautiful young women in their 20’s and 30’s expressing concerns about wrinkles and, heaven forbid, looking older!  


 I just don’t believe we need to spend fortunes on the latest miracle product in the pursuit of beauty, nor do I believe there is any one standard of beauty and when I read the ingredients in some products I feel like telling people to run, not walk, away from some of them!   I like to keep it simple, eat healthy foods, and care for our skin gently with the best nature offers – and not worry about it! Beauty in my mind is more about being healthy and living a good and loving life than looking 20 or 30 forever.


 So, maybe I am actually not conflicted. There’s nothing wrong in my opinion with wanting to look good, and healthy skin, no matter its age, is beautiful.  How we take care of our health is reflected in it. But I would rather grow old with grace, be who I am without worry, take care of my health by eating well, and celebrate the wonderful life I’ve been blessed with rather than wishing I was something I am not,  and constantly searching for ways to make myself look 20 or 30 years younger! 


Here's To Our Health!


Shirley Makela, AADP INHC


Alki Organix

Truly Natural Skin Care in Partnership with Nature






Alki Organix: Truly Natural Skin Care in Partnership with Nature  - Skin care based on organic and wildcrafted cold or expeller pressed oils and whole natural ingredients and featuring incredibly effective skincare with Certified Bio-Active Manuka Honey.  Cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize with best selling Alki Organix Manuka Honey Facials in orginal, Honey & Rose and Honey & Avocado.  Have beautiful skin with Manuka Honey and its unique properties making it an amazing superfood for skin. Artisan crafted in the beautiful Skagit Valley in Washington state by Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Shirley Makela, Alki Organix is dedicated to providing the most effective, natural skin care possible 100% free of chemicals and preservatives. 

Healthy Living: How Natural Soap Is Made
Pat White's Healthy Living Articles
Written by Pat White of Essential Body Pleasures   
How to Make Natural SoapI am getting ready to make soap this weekend and thought I would share the different ways to make soap. Each process, is wonderful in their own unique way.  The four types of natural soap include:  cold process, hot process, rebatching, and melt and pour. 

Cold Process Soap Making

In this method, oils are melted and combined with a lye and liquid (water, milk, etc) mixture. Mixing these ingredients creates a chemical reaction called saponification. The mixture is then stirred either by hand with a spoon, or by using a stick blender until the soap mixture has thickened (called ‘trace’). There is no cooking (using heat to speed up the saponification process) with cold process soap. The mixture is poured into a mold, covered and left to cool for 24 hours. At that point the soap can be removed from the mold and cut into bars. The bars are then left alone to cure for 4-6 weeks. This ensures a harder and milder bar of soap. I love cold process soap making and use many different types of liquid.  One of my favorite is pulverizing avocado and adding the fresh avocado to the lye.

Hot Process Soap Making
In this method, melted oils are combined with a lye/liquid mixture and are ‘cooked’ by using heat. Many modern soapers make hot process soap in a slow cooker/crock pot. The mixture is brought to trace and then cooked. The cooking time varies depending upon the ingredients used, the size of the batch and the heat setting on the slow cooker. The end result is a thickened, gel-like looking soap mixture that must be spooned into the soap mold. It is covered and left to cool for 24 hours, at which time it is removed from the mold and cut into individual bars of soap. 

This method is often used to reduce the 4-6 week cure time required by cold process soap making. By the time the soap cools and is removed from the mold (usually within 24 hours), the soap is safe for use. Leaving it to sit for a couple of weeks may allow additional water to evaporate and become harder, but it is not necessary. Hot processed soap may have a more rustic, handmade appearance to it, compared to the smooth texture of cold process soap.


This method involves using pre-made soap (cold or hot processed). The biggest draw for soap makers to use this method is that they can buy pre-made soap for rebatching and do not have to come into contact with lye if that’s a concern for them. The lye has already been chemically transformed during saponification.  It also means they can add additional ingredients such as essential oils or herbs and not have to worry about them reacting with lye. 

To rebatch soap, the pre-made soap is grated like cheese and to this a small amount of liquid is added. The mixture is gently heated until melted and then pressed into molds. It must then cool and harden before it is suitable for use. 

Melt and Pour Soap Making

This process involves purchasing a premade glycerin soap base (or making a glycerin soap base on your own, which is much less common, but possible), and melting it down, often in a microwave or on a stovetop. At that point, colorants, fragrance and possibly some additional oils (no water or milk can be added) are added to the melted soap base. The mixture is then poured into molds and left to harden – usually just a few hours. At that point, the hardened soaps can be removed from the mold and are ready for immediate use. 

Some soap makers prefer using this method because the chemical process has already been done, so they don’t have to worry about using lye. Melt and pour soaps are also fluid enough to be poured into a variety of molds which results in more intricate designs and shapes compared to the other types of soap making.

All of these methods produce great soap with wonderful properties.  Off I go to start my soap making weekend.  Wish me luck!

Pat White MSN PMh NP-BC
Clinical Aromatherapist 

Whole Living: A More Zen-like Approach to Health & Skin Care
Shirley Makela's Whole Living Articles
Written by Shirley Makela of Alki Organix   

Zen-Like Skin CareIn the quest for beautiful skin we are often told we must subject our skin to harsh treatments, abrasives, or isolated nutrients pharmaceuticals or chemicals in the quest of beauty.  Then when our skin still doesn't look or feel like we want it to, we search for yet another treatment that will make it “behave”.  I do a lot of reading on ingredients for skin care and I recently researched a new ‘miracle’ ingredient for skin and was amazed to learn it was derived from a poison that can actually kill you!  How is this good for you?  Even among natural products there are different approaches – they can be gentle or aggressive as well, and while I fully agree with a whole food approach to skin care I am fully cognizant that natural does not necessarily mean gentle and non-toxic.   In my more philosophical moments I wonder if we buy into this because we are at battle with ourselves.  We haven’t learned to love ourselves.  But, that’s another topic altogether!

  For the best care for the health of our skin I would like to suggest that a better way is a more Zen-like approach to skin care. Rather than doing battle with your skin nurture it and work with it not against it. Give it what it needs, eat a diet that nurtures your overall health and be gentle and loving with your skin!  It will love you back. In short; a more Zen-like approach!

One of the biggest changes, and best changes I made for both my health and skin was changing from the idea of doing battle with my body to loving and nurturing it more, enjoying delicious healthy food that creates the environment for health and to a more positive, Zen-like skin care routine as well.  My Alki Organix products are based on routines and products I first made and used for myself in search of that healthier more Zen-like approach.   

 For example I switched to oil cleansing years ago when I realized that harsh cleansers made my face dry and irritated. I still use a gentle soap in the shower – but not for my face. Why oil rather than soap or cleansers for face? First, when you think about cleansing what you want is to cleanse the oils & day’s dirt from your skin. Water doesn’t dissolve oil, that’s why soap is used – but oil dissolves oil.  In cleansing you want to dissolve the built up oils and remove the layer of dead skin that can clog pores.  You can do this with harsh cleansers and abrasives – or – you can use the more Zen like approach using oil.  It gently cleanses your skin as no cleanser can. Even oily skin benefits from oil cleansing rather than harsh cleansers.

 Honey was another ingredient I’ve used for years, it is calming and incredibly moisturizing for skin.  I incorporate honey into all my formulas because of its gentle effectiveness.  Mixed with oil it cleanses beautifully, dissolves makeup and dirt, and unclogs pores.  When I discovered Manuka honey its additional skin nourishment and incredibly gentle exfoliation amazed me!  My skin glowed; it was soft, radiant and healthy looking.  Others agree and my Manuka Honey Facials, Honey & Roses with rosehip, Honey & Avocado are my best sellers. Because there are no harsh abrasives, no drying ingredients they can be used daily and they truly fit the Zen-like approach.  

 Why Honey? Honey is just plain incredible for skin.  It is a natural moisturizer that is just incredible – it’s said that Cleopatra’s milk & honey baths were her secret to beauty.  Honey is a humectant, it draws moisture to your skin. It has incredible antioxidant and antibacterial properties. I haven’t come across a skin type that honey doesn’t benefit from aging to acne prone and Manuka honey, made by bees pollinating the Tea Tree bushes is even more effective for skin.  Considered a medicinal honey,  Manuka Honey has a mild alpha-hydroxy acid that gently dissolves and removes dead skin for the easiest, gentlest, most incredible exfoliation you’ve ever experienced.  You can use  it daily, because it’s not harsh abrasives that scrape at your skin, it only removes dead skin if it’s there!   If you haven’t tried oil cleansing or honey for your skin yet, you are missing out on one of nature’s most incredible gifts!

 Take a more Zen-like approach to your health, and your skin care. Your body loves you, love your body in return, It will reward you!

 Here's To Our Health!

Shirley Makela, AADP INHC


Alki Organix

Truly Natural Skin Care in Partnership with Nature





Healthy Living: The Benefits of Avocado Oil
Pat White's Healthy Living Articles
Written by Pat White of Essential Body Pleasures   
Avocado oil (Persea gratissima) is a yellowish, green oil. It is pressed from the fleshy pulp that surrounds the avocado pit. It is a thick but very penetrating oil which is easily absorbed into the skin. Avocado oil is rich in vitamins A, B, and D. The green color is due to large amounts of chlorophyll and carotenoids. This makes the oil highly prone to oxidative effects when exposed to sunlight and thus must be stored in dark bottles.

Avocado oils is great for dry, aging or sun damaged skin, eczema and psoriasis. The antioxidants in avocado oil can fight the signs of aging and increase the rate of cell turnover and the Vitamin E can assist in reducing dry, itchy and inflamed skin.

Avocado oil also contains sterolins, which studies have shown to decrease the appearance of sun/age spots. Avocado oil is also reported to help stimulate the production of collagen, which is a key component of the skin's support system. Skin with plenty of collagen is plump, firm and shows fewer wrinkles.

Avocado oil is used in soap and cosmetic products along with hair care treatments.

In soap, it creates a conditioning bar of soap with mild cleansing properties that also has a stable creamy lather.
In cosmetics, avocado oil is an excellent moisturizer.

Avocado oil is also reported to revitalize dry, damaged hair as it conditions both the scalp and hair.The proteins, vitamins and amino acids in avocado oils have also been considered to promote healthier hair growth.

Remember, the FDA has not evaluated the above statements. No claims are made regarding the medicinal value of avocado oil. The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Pat White MSN PMh NP-BC

Clinical Aromatherapist

Make sure to visit Essential Body Pleasures - Skin Care Nature's Way


Shutes, J., (2013-2014).  Components and essential oils:  A research reference manual.  Chapel Hill, NC: East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies.

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