This fall, the Westchase District Farmers Market celebrates its fifth anniversary. Featuring nearly 30 vendors each week and special monthly appearances from the Harris County Master Gardeners, the market is as lively as ever. So just how do we maintain our vibrant appearance? Well, besides eating healthy, locally-grown foods from our vendors, part of our secret lies in using the hand-crafted skin care products offered by several merchants.
Fighting the funk
“Skin is your largest organ and about 60 percent of whatever you put on your skin is ingested into your body, so it’s important to put quality, natural things on it,” said Karen Trekell owner of LatherMeUp Bath & Body Products (lathermeup.com). “My soaps are made with shea butter and olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil – all natural vegetable oils – and scented with various essential oils. Of course you want to be careful with anything you put near your mouth, so my lip balm consists simply of shea butter, sweet almond oil and beeswax.”
Trekell said many mass-produced, brand-name underarm deodorants contain aluminum and other synthetic antiperspirant ingredients that block pores. “There’s conflicting research about the relationship between antiperspirants, deodorants and breast cancer, but clogging up the ducts near lymph nodes around the armpits and breasts can’t be good, so a lot of my customers are looking for alternatives,” she said. Trekell makes her natural underarm deodorant with arrowroot powder, baking soda, coco butter, shea butter, coconut oil, tea tree oil and beeswax.
Some customers transitioning to natural deodorant may notice a temporary increase in sweating, odor or sensitivity as they go through what Trekell describes as “underarm detox.” “Depending on your chemical makeup, it takes from a few days to up to a week for your body to adjust as the aluminum leaves your body. At first, you may have a few sticky days, but they shouldn’t be stinky days,” she said.
Acting as the test case herself, Trekell said she went through a handful of iterations before settling on the right combination of ingredients for her lemon mint and lavender mint deodorants. “I smell my shirt at the end of every day just to make sure that my products are still working,” she said, laughing.
Everlasting flower power
Referred to as the Everlasting or Immortal Flower, helichrysum is a small perennial herb with yellow sunflowers used in anti-aging products for its rejuvenating benefits to the skin. Marlene Munday, owner of Float-A-Way Essential Oil Products (u-floataway.com), sells a Silky Scents cream and bath salts made with helichrysum and rose essential oils. “Both are healing to the skin,” Munday said. “Helichrysum has been known to heal wounds without leaving scars and rose is extremely moisturizing.”
Munday offers her products in various forms, including linen spray, diffuser oils and roll-ons. “I’m also a massage therapist, so all of my products are designed to flow into the skin and be absorbed easily,” she said. “They are hormone-balancing and good for relieving anxiety, though I don’t recommend them for anyone who’s pregnant. I have to warn people to use the bath salts only before going to bed, because I promise you they will knock you out.”
You only have to travel as far as the market to get healing that comes from the Himalayas. Pink Himalayan salt is a type of rock salt from the Punjab region of Pakistan near the foothills of the Himalaya mountain range famous for its pink color due to trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium. “Pink salt has 84 of the 102 minerals our bodies need,” said Lucinda Deason, owner of Dr. Lucy’s Optiumum Wellness Lifestyle (OWL) Club. “When the body gets the minerals it needs, it starts healing itself.”
Deason sells a Himalayan pink salt skin moisturizer and an exfoliant bath scrub. “You soak in the tub with the scrub for about 15 minutes a day and it helps draw toxins and heavy metals out of your body,” she said. “The pink salt detoxifies the body by balancing systemic pH, and it also improves skin hydration.” She added that benefits of regular pink salt soaks can include balanced blood sugar levels, lowered blood pressure and prevention of muscle cramps. “I feel proud to sell my products because I know they don’t harm anyone and I can share them with my customers,” she added.