First of all I’d like to say that having you join us on the ‘all natural beauty’ web site is a highlight in my own beauty career. You have had a major impact on me since reading my first Jeanne Rose book “Kitchen Cosmetics” over ten years ago. You have such a personal writing style. I feel as though you are sitting in my kitchen and we’re having an informal chat when I read your books.
Please share with us what has inspired you to take on this life-long path of writing and teaching about herbs and natural beauty.
It started with an auto accident that I had in 1969. It left me partially paralyzed and in need of several months of recuperation. Someone had given me a 25 cent booklet called "Sachets & Dried Perfume". There were ingredients listed in the book that I wanted to know more about like "Dragon's Blood" for example. So I began reading all of the books about herbs that I could find.
The idea of using natural remedies and beauty products was not foreign to me. My parents grew almond and apricot trees. My mother, who was French, used the almonds to make almond milk and almond paste scrub, and other natural remedies and grooming aids. We also had a diverse neighborhood, many of whom were of European roots and consequently used the old recipes.
While I was convalescing I read one book from 1668 (Receipts in Physick and Chirurgery, by Sir Kenelm Digby) that taught me how to make a recipe called "Bruise Juice". I used it to help myself to heal and had unbelievable results! In fact I still use and sell this herbal product today, and have been since 1969. Many people swear by it. (See recipe)
More and more people are living in the city now and not being exposed to the old ways of using natural remedies. I feel that the knowledge is being lost. People also seem to move so often now days. This does not enable them to watch plants go through much of their lifetime. It 's in watching and learning from plants that we learn so much. I like to tell people to choose one plant in their garden and watch it for an entire year. Take note of the sky, weather, wind, snow and rain that the plant goes through. In the words of Krishnamurti, "pay attention". This is where my passion comes from, is teaching others to pay attention to the natural plant world that is around them.
You have so many wonderful recipes in your various books on natural beauty. I’m sure that it is not easy to narrow it down to one favorite. But, if you had to choose one formula that gets the most feedback as being highly effective, what would it be?
I think that one of the most effective formulas would be a recipe that is found in my book "Kitchen Cosmetics". It's also very easy. It's called "Lemon Hand Cream" and the ingredients are very basic. They are Almond oil, Lemon juice, Beeswax and Lemon oil. (See recipe)
Another very effective formula for softening hands is mixing honey and raw eggs together, applying this mixture to the hands, and wearing gloves to bed.
My favorite medicinal remedy would have to be "Bruise Juice". Which is an exceptional external recipe when applied to the skin.
Along with being beneficial, all natural beauty products make great gifts. Would you please let us in on what would be in your ideal beauty product gift basket?
Basically all that one needs is a good hand-made soap. I prefer a white soap to colored ones. The natural glycerin in the soap makes the skin soft. My preference for the scent would be rosemary, mint or lavender.
I also like good bath salts. My preference is for bath salts that do not contain oil. They just seem to make the tub oily. I would rather use hydrosols in the bath, about a cup. They are acidic ( about a 4.5 ph level) and help maintain a healthy pH balance for the skin. I coined the term "hydrosol" back in 1990, which is a very common term that is used frequently today. Hydro means water, and sol stands for solution. I also enjoy Moor mud as a bath.
By the way, many people use the word Spa today without knowing it's true meaning. It is the abbreviation of an ancient phrase "Salve through water" or "Health through Water" which was found in a bath in Rome 2000 years ago.
I feel that bathing is so important in the evening when one is winding down. Showering is best done in the morning for cleansing.
I would also enjoy a good eyeliner, if I could find one that is all-natural and doesn't smear.
Aromatherapy seems to be an absolute passion for you. Not only do you travel the country teaching others about it, your site is filled with various aromatherapy kits that you sell. Would you please share your thoughts about why aromatherapy is so useful?
Aromatherapy is based on the use of essential oils. Essential oils are made through distillation of the actual plant parts. The essential oils are a synergy of scent and herbal properties. Basically it is the scent of the plant in liquid form. Therefore, the importance of using this form of healing is in it's effectiveness.
You have a pet project that is very exciting called the “Aromatic Plant Project”. Would you please tell us about it?
I am the executive director of this non-profit organization. It was started as a way of stopping farmland from becoming developed, keeping farmers growing useful plants that they might not have considered growing, and a way of educating people about the benefits of distilling plants and using their properties. We help the farmers to not only utilize their lands for the growing of plants that would be appropriate for their area, we also educate them about stills in which to create the actual finished product, and teach them how to use them.
To find out more about this endeavor and to find out how you can become a part of this organization, please contact me through my web site. Or you can go to the Aromatic Plant Project web site.
When I think of a pioneer in the all natural beauty field, you are who I think of. What changes have you seen since you began your interest in the subject?
On the up side, more people are making more products with increased awareness or proper labeling. I would like to see the consumer paying more attention to what is in a product and requesting more informed salespersons. I see aromatherapy being the buzzword of the next few years and I hope that we teachers can teach fast enough so that the consumers really know what they are paying for.
On the down side...there are more people getting away from natural methods of grooming and healing. There are also more companies out there making more harmful products that are filled with bad chemicals. There are no guidelines in place that define an aromatherapist, a hydrosol or a true natural product. Anyone, can call themselves an aromatherapy expert. There are teachers who "certify" students with just a few hours of class. I am trying to change this by teaching all over the country. (See schedule)
What do you see for the future of this important area of beauty?
I will keep educating and teaching in person and through my home-study courses. Education is the key to knowledge. Knowledge is power.
What message would you like to give to those that are still using un-natural beauty products?
They are bad for your skin. Also, after prolonged use of these products, you may develop sensitivities to the petroleum based chemicals. Why mess around with these products when natural products are so good for you, and so easy to make?
"The Sense of Smell is the most incredible gift that God gave to his Creatures"...Jeanne Rose (1998)