The lovely Katey Denno goes wild crafting with me in LA and writes about our adventure. RRR draws in such wonderful and power women I feel blessed to know.
photo courtesy of photographer Dawn Blackman: http://dawnblackman.com/
While I was in Los Angeles in January I spent the day with the creator of the all natural skincare, hair oil, and fragrance line, Roots Rose Radish. She wears a lot of hats: from herbalist to doula (soon to be a midwife!), RRR founder and creator, Christian Toscano, really knows her stuff when it comes to plants. We started with a hike in Griffith Park, where she pulled out her shears and wild crafted ingredients that she uses in her product line and around her home. I should have brought a notebook because my brain couldn’t keep up with all the ‘oh my gosh, I had no idea!’ information she shared with me about nearly every plant, tree, grass, and flower we passed.
I met Christian earlier last year when she came to NYC to introduce her handmade-in-small-batches line of products to magazine editors. The first thing she said to me when I picked up her honey pecan rose face cleanser was: here’s a spoon -” you have to taste it.”
I loved that we share the belief that what we put on our bodies has to be safe enough for us to eat. Our skin is our largest organ, and as Christian says: “it does the most ingestion and elimination for the body, and plays an important part in the immune system – protecting against pathogens and harsh chemicals. We have to nourish it with only the best!”
So far my favorites from her line are the Wild Grains Face Exfoliator made with French green clay, theCitrus Face Oil Cleanser (which doubles as a face oil- which makes it the perfect two-in-one for traveling, her Rose Face Oil -the scent is surreal, and nothing like that synthetic rose smell we’ve all come to associate with rose scents, and her Rose, Frankincense and Patchouli solid perfume that’s so beautifully housed in a shell. I keep one in my purse, and one by the front door so I’m sure to always waft a trail of deliciousness as I walk past you. I can’t tell you how many people comment that they love the way I smell!
A few years ago when I stopped wearing synthetic fragrance (and now they make me really grossed out). I’d read that when you see the word ‘fragrance’ in an ingredient list – whether it’s in a cosmetic, a room spray, a candle or your perfume, it’s pretty much always synthetic, and the exact chemicals used to formulate it aren’t required to be divulged. Synthetic fragrances often contain petrochemicals, which have been shown time and time again to be irritating and toxic to the body and to the environment.
Back to my day with Christian: we got lost in the trails and had to slide on our bums down some really steep hills until we found our way back down. During our adventure, these are some of the things we saw:
White sage trees (how cute is Christian in that hat?):
This is the castor plant, and its’ seeds are where castor oil comes from. I had no idea. Have you ever tried using castor oil on scars? It’s fantastic. Christian recommends soaking a washcloth or muslin cloth in castor oil and sitting with it on your lower abdomen when you have period cramps. I’ve heard of this before, and seen it used to topically treat other pain happening inside the body. I think it’s pretty miraculous.
Leaf tagging – Christian had told me about this, and that it’s just like the spray-paint-on-the-side-of-a-building tagging we see all the time in NYC. To me, it’s way less cool, although an interesting phenomenon:
Back at Christian’s house, where she brewed up the most delicious and thick hibiscus tea (doesn’t it look like coffee?), I learned a lot about various ingredients she likes to use and what she grows in her garden:
These are loofahs she grows on a tree outside her home, dries, cuts to an appropriate size, and then uses as body scrubbers and dish scrubbers. Imagine how funny the tree looks with these things growing off of it. They’re NOT small.
Christian showed me one of her cabinets of ingredients. Here’s a jar of calendula blossoms.
I still haven’t tried her tinted lip balm, but this is how she gets it to be that beautiful deep berry color:
I had such a great day with my new friend, Christian. In addition to her product line that’s sold online atUrban Outfitters - and numerous other places – she also sees private clients for herbalist treatments, providing tinctures to treat everything from emotional health to intestinal health. I got some digestive bitters from her to try and stave off acne breakouts, which she says for me, probably stem from my liver.
One last visual to leave you with: I’m allergic to cats, and have taught myself not to like them. Christian’s cat was so cute, though, that I couldn’t stop taking pictures of him sniffing, and then nibbling on, the flowers