cover

SUMMARY

image
COVER
ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
TITLE PAGE
NATURAL BEAUTY
FIRST THINGS FIRST
THE RIGHT RITUALS
THE RIGHT PREPARATIONS
THE RIGHT TOOLS
TABLE OF INGREDIENTS
RECIPE INDEX
WHO ARE YOU?
LIST OF CONCERNS
TABLE OF TREATMENTS
A FEW BEAUTY ESSENTIALS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
COPYRIGHT

ABOUT THE BOOK

From apricots to witch hazel by way of chamomile, lavender, and olives, An Atlas of Natural Beauty explains the origins, history, and uses past and present of over 80 versatile botanicals for retaining and enhancing one’s beauty.

The cult Parisian apothocary l’Officine Universelle Buly details the secrets of the seeds, flowers, oils, trees, fruits and herbs that form the foundation for their irresistible concoctions based on time-honoured recipes and uncompromising natural ingredients, with each entry beautifully illustrated.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Victoire de Taillac and Ramdane Touhami are the owners of L’Officine Universelle Buly, and are a married couple, currently living in Tokyo. He is an entrepreneur, art collector and designer, she is an aristocrat-turned-shopkeeper. Together they are an artistic Parisian powerhouse, living in an impossibly stylish apartment (recently featured in Vogue and Stella Magazine) with their beautiful children. They launched L’Officine Universelle Buly in 2014, a beauty products brand which is sold at international locations and at Net-a-Porter / Mr Porter.

https://www.buly1803.com/en/
https://www.instagram.com/officine_universelle_buly/?hl=en
https://twitter.com/Buly1803

Image
Image
Image

NATURAL BEAUTY

image

imageothing is simpler, more enjoyable, more self-evident or more efficient than taking good, natural care of yourself. Nothing is easier than devoting the requisite amount of time to it – no more than you would spend on commercial cosmetics – and nothing is more pleasant than giving meaning to your beauty rituals. Just like a short breather, this can fit into any day’s schedule. It is a lifestyle which does not require much space and does not even involve fancy words or overly intricate steps – a source of delight that lends sweetness to everyday life.

And that must be the world’s best-kept beauty secret: there is no need to go overboard to stay at the top of your game. All it takes are a few gentle movements and the many things nature and nurture have to offer, generously and often economically.

This book also provides the perfect opportunity to regain control: it is no longer about brands, fads, and appearances – it is about you. The simple knowledge we have gathered here, along with your own experimentations, should give you the gratifying ability and privilege to care for yourself and your loved ones.

Beauty is not all about marketing and promises. To attain beauty and well-being you must keep it simple and speak the truth. This type of natural beauty exists, and it is within reach. Discovering these authentic beauty secrets also provides an opportunity to travel through time and space, to marvel at the riches of the plant world and at man’s ingenuity in discovering and making the most of them. Nature-based beauty has the precious added benefit of encouraging us to use gentle organic ingredients, whose active concentration is much greater than that of the average industrial product. With these beauty recipes and natural products which l’Officine Universelle has had the pleasure of collecting and sharing, you know exactly what your skin is getting: nothing but the best.

At l’Officine Universelle Buly, we select with passion and curiosity the very best of these “raw” materials. By favoring traditional agriculture and the work of rural cooperatives, we support the endurance and growth of these communities, which are rightly proud of their know-how and of perpetuating these traditions.

This book lists eighty ingredients and raw materials to take good care of yourself, along with tested recipes garnered from the collective experience of all of the world’s cultures. These simple and precious products have been kept alive by continued use and by the beauty habits of the inhabitants of all continents.

This is an experience that is simultaneously millennial and yet ever so contemporary.

Time stops, beauty is universal. Re-enchant your bathroom, join in the game, and create your own beneficial and efficient rituals.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

image
image

imageon’t be fazed by raw materials: you will soon feel at home with their striking simplicity, which will fuel your experience, your knowledge, and your creativity as you unlock their benefits.

Just as we do, make sure to select the purest, most naturally active ingredients: be exacting about their quality, their source (whether organic or classic) and their freshness. And each time you try a new ingredient, take the time to test it beforehand on the crook of your elbow, to make sure it does not trigger any allergy or irritation.

The hygiene of your hands, cloths, tools, and various containers must also be impeccable. Sterilizing jars is a simple and indispensable step: your creations will then keep for anywhere between a day and several months, depending on their nature and shelf life. Remember that water is a veritable breeding ground for certain bacteria, which is not the case for oils. Trust your judgment, your nose, and your eyes. If in doubt, don’t use (or stop using) your creations completely.

The properties, indications, and usage instructions for all the active ingredients in this book draw on our experience in the realm of cosmetics, but also on reference books and canvassing beauty rituals and traditions from all over the world. Nonetheless, this information is intended as a guide only; in no way does it constitute medical information, nor can we be held responsible for it. For any therapeutic usage of the essential oils, hydrolates, and plants or plant powders mentioned herein, make sure to consult a doctor first.

THE RIGHT RITUALS

image

REMOVING MAKEUP

image

Returning to your natural state before bed is an indispensable ritual. The skin must be thoroughly and gently rid of all makeup, and with it the day’s many trials. Indeed, whatever your skin type, skin is fragile and must be allowed to breathe. A makeup removal solution should be very simple: just a touch of floral water and a few drops of natural oil sprinkled on a cotton pad – as many times as necessary to remove all traces of makeup or urban grime.

CLEANSING THE FACE

image

The feeling of a clean face is one of life’s simplest pleasures, but this step should be handled carefully. Washing is good – stripping is not. You must find the ritual that will leave you fresh and satisfied, without upsetting the balance of your skin. Perhaps some warm, clear water – whether mineral or filtered – or a little floral water on a cotton pad? Using soap is unnecessary! So is rubbing the skin, which tends to dry it. Overly aggressive cleansing will tire, irritate, and inflame the skin.

CLEANSING THE HAIR

image

This may sound simple, and yet! Our obsession with shampoo, which we insist on lathering on frenetically, and which we rinse off hastily, goes against our objectives…. The art of proper hair cleaning means a hair-embellishing treatment: select an organic, gentle shampoo, start by dispensing the desired dosage into a hammam bowl and diluting it with some tepid water, pour onto your damp hair and gently and slowly massage with the tips of your fingers until clean. Then rinse, rinse, rinse… and to complete the rinsing process, you may want to try some diluted hair care vinegar, which imparts shine and removes the last remaining impurities. Ideally, little by little you should try to space out each time you use shampoo, first by one day, and then two. The scalp will then learn to recover its balance on its own.

SCRUBBING

image

The skin is all about touch. Sometimes, just by running your fingers over it, you may feel the need to refine its grain, to soften it. Obviously, the thin skin of the face requires a greater level of care and gentleness than that of the body, which is often less fragile. But it is just as obvious that neither should be constantly worn down, letting the skin balance itself. Rather, remember to exfoliate your body once a week, and give your face a rest – a gentle scrub once every ten days will suffice.

MASSAGING THE FACE

image

A facial massage could become a daily pleasure, whenever you apply a cleansing milk, a vegetable oil, or a cream. It should be done from the center out. Circular motions, tiny pinches… it is the simplest of royal treatments for the face, which it helps to maintain or recover radiance: it relaxes and smoothes the facial features, all the while oxygenating and calming the skin.

MASSAGING THE BODY

image

Self-massages, whether dry or wet (in a warm bath or shower) are a good way to unknot tense muscles and to make a fresh start. Your body could benefit from special treatment with a regularly applied beneficial oil, and from a short, focused massage as you apply your everyday cream.

BRUSHING THE BODY

image

Whether in the shower or in a dry setting, rubbing yourself from top to toe, using a brush with relatively firm bristles, will bring the skin tremendous vitality, improve its appearance, ward off fat dimples, and soften without damaging it. What could be better? This treatment can be performed daily.

BRUSHING THE HAIR

image

The myth about giving your hair one hundred brush strokes a day has a romantic ring to it, but not all heads of hair require the same rituals, and it would be disastrous for some…. Gently brushing or combing your hair rids it of impurities, makes it shinier and stimulates the scalp. It is important to find the right tool for you, which should be high-quality and suited to your hair so as not to damage it. The proper pace at which to brush depends on you and on whether you like your hair coiffed or disheveled.

MASKS

image

If you’re taking the time to apply a mask, chances are you can also set aside five minutes to concoct it yourself. A little clay and vegetable powder, some floral water and natural or essential oil, and there you have it: a highly natural and efficient treatment for the face or hair! Each mask is an opportunity for your body and mind to catch their breath: such attentions will also boost your morale.

THE RIGHT PREPARATIONS

image

TO THE BATH WITH YOU!

image

Steam baths, foot baths, and full-body baths are natural beauty treatments that are as simple as they are thrilling. Hydrolates, diluted essential oils, pesticide-free botanicals, clays, these ingredients will enrich this beneficial ritual and efficiently improve your radiance and well-being.

MASKS AND CATAPLASMS

image

Nothing could be simpler or more beneficial than preparing an on-the-spot mask, which will be more naturally efficient than most commercial cosmetic products. A spoonful of powder, a few drops of oil (whether natural or essential), a little floral water in the palm of your hand or in a bowl, and there you have it: a treatment that is perfectly suited to the needs of your skin and hair, and to the current climate!

DRYING

image

In order to dry plants, one must tie them together in a bunch and hang them, inflorescences or leaves toward the ground, in a dry and well-ventilated room. To make this effective and avoid the onset of mold, it’s important to dry quickly. Dried plants can be kept in tightly shut jars for up to a year – be sure to label them with the name of the plant and the date on which they were dried.

INFUSIONS

image

Infusions are a quick and simple way to extract the properties of the plants’ more fragile parts – the leaves, flowers, and stems. For every cup of water (whether mineral or filtered), use one spoonful of dried plant material or two spoonfuls of freshly cut plant. Bring the water to a simmer and, while you wait, place the plant you would like to infuse at the bottom of a teapot. Pour the simmering water over the plant and promptly close the lid. Simmering water, as opposed to boiling water, does not “burn” the plants; neither does it obliterate their active ingredients. Allow to infuse for about ten minutes. Once it has cooled down, this infusion can be used as rinsing water for the hair or as a facial lotion.

DECOCTIONS

image

A decoction is hardly more complex to prepare than an infusion. It is simply a more “robust” method of extracting the active ingredients from the tougher parts of the plants: seeds, roots, barks, etc. For every cup of water (whether mineral or filtered), use one spoonful of dried plant material or two spoonfuls of freshly cut plant. Be sure to dice the plant into tiny pieces so as to facilitate the extraction. Place the plants in a saucepan (preferably one that is made out of glass), cover with water and bring to a medium boil. Boil the botanicals for about ten minutes before turning off the heat. Though it is more concentrated than an infusion, a decoction can be used in the same way.

MACERATIONS

image

Macerates are easier to prepare using dried plants. Whether they are fresh or dry, the botanicals must be diced into tiny pieces and then plunged into the neutral oil of your choice – preferably one that is odorless and keeps well, such as grapeseed oil. Allow to macerate for one to two weeks under direct sunlight, before filtering the macerate using a muslin cloth, pressing down on the plants so as to maximize the resulting active concentration. A macerate will keep for up to six months in a vial – in a cool, dry place and away from sunlight.

BAIN MARIE

image

A bain marie is a simple cooking technique in which the heating vessel itself is immersed halfway in a “bath” of water. This will prevent the plants and other ingredients from being brought to an excessive temperature, which would negatively affect the shelf life and the integrity of the ointments you are preparing.

image

THE RIGHT TOOLS

image

imagehe hand is guided by the tool’s perfection. A few well-executed motions and well-chosen instruments are just as effective as a whole lot of overly complicated beauty formulations. We encourage you to acquire the best and most durable ones and to make regular use of them. They will prove useful to carry out, quickly and effectively, the rituals and recipes collected in this book. The list below is not exhaustive. It itemizes those which have seemed indispensable to us. Perfection, comfort, the handle and material of the implement… everything is conducive to good use and regular practice. What is beautiful is also usually pleasant to use.

METAL HAMMAM BOWL

image

This indestructible, heavy duty, and well-proportioned bowl fits in the hand; it can slip into the bathtub and float on the bathwater. It is an essential ally for making the perfect mixture, diluting a shampoo, or collecting and distributing a rinsing water.

CERAMIC OR GLASS BOWL

image

Indispensable for those ingredients that metal can damage through oxidation (clays, for the most part).

BAMBOO WHISK

image

Neutral and allows for a fine emulsion. It must be properly rinsed and dried after each use. In Japan, it is most commonly used to emulsify matcha – powdered green tea.

CONTAINERS FOR YOUR CREATIONS

image

Beauty and function can go hand in hand: a glass pharmaceutical vial with a pipette, a small glass chemist’s jar….

HAIRBRUSH

image

It is all about finding the model, the bristle strength, and the handle that will be best suited to your hair. After each brushing, your brush must be rid of any hair that has accumulated. At regular intervals, it must be dusted using a tough scrubbing brush which is to be run between the rows of bristles.

FINE COMB AND LARGE-TOOTHED COMB

image

There are as many types of comb as there are types of hair and usages. Pick whichever is best suited to you.

SUPPLE NAIL BRUSH

image

Nail brushing should be performed daily. A supple brush, both firm and soft, is the indispensable accessory for hand and foot cleansing.

MAKEUP BRUSHES

image

A good makeup brush must always be properly cleaned with water and soap, properly rinsed and properly dried; it offers the best and surest way to apply a mask to the face or hair.

BODY BRUSH

image

Whether fitted with a handle or a strap, it can be as tough or as soft as you wish. Some will like it as simple as it gets; others will prefer more sophisticated models equipped with copper bristles for deeper drainage. In this case, the brush should be kept dry.

NATURAL SPONGE

image

Nothing is healthier, simpler or more pleasantly efficient than a genuine natural sponge – to complete the removal of makeup or of a mask, or simply for showering or bathing…. Well-rinsed and left to dry in the open air, a high-quality natural sponge will last for years.

FINE COTTON GAUZE

image

To create your own “sachets” (see here), infuse certain botanicals or hold certain masks, cotton gauze is a classic that you can buy in the form of compresses at any chemist’s.

TOWELS

image

Depending on how finely it is woven, on the material it is made of and on its thickness, a towel can absorb quickly or slowly; it can gently exfoliate the skin or vigorously activate circulation. In addition to the classic terrycloth, it is recommended to have drier types of cloth on hand – honeycomb towels, for instance.

TUB

image

Whether it is made of enameled metal or plastic, a wide, capacious tub is ideal for footbaths and nail care.

MAKEUP-REMOVING COTTON

image

Natural cotton – less whitened or treated than synthetic types – should be used for gentler beauty treatments.

FROM THE KITCHEN TO THE BATHROOM

image

For crushing and mixing botanicals, a good grinder and a mortar and pestle should follow you from the kitchen into the bathroom.

TABLE OF INGREDIENTS

image

ACAI

Euterpe

Origin: Amazonia

ALOE VERA

Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis

Origin: North Africa

ALUM STONE

Aluminiferous schist

Origin: Syria

AMLA

Phyllanthus emblica

Origin: India

ANDIROBA

Carapa guianensis

Origin: Brazil

APRICOT

Prunus armeniaca

Origin: Armenia

ARGAN

Argania spinosa

Origin: Morocco

ARNICA

Arnica montana

Origin: Central Europe

AVOCADO

Persea americana

Origin: Mexico

AZUKI

Vigna angularis

Origin: Japan

BAOBAB

Adansonia digitata

Origin: Senegal

BEE

Apis mellifera

Origin: World

BORAGE

Borago officinalis

Origin: Europe

BRAZIL NUT

Bertholletia excelsa

Origin: Amazonia

BURITI

Mauritia flexuosa

Origin: South America

CAMELLIA

Camellia japonica

Origin: Japan

CASTORBEAN

Ricinus communis

Origin: Tropical Africa

CENTELLA

Centella asiatica

Origin: India

CHAMOMILE

Chamaemelum nobile, Matricaria chamomilla

Origin: Central Europe

CHAULMOOGRA

Taraktogenos kurzii

Origin: India and Myanmar

CLAYS

Argilla

Origin: World

COCOA

Theobroma cacao

Origin: Central America

COCONUT

Cocos nucifera

Origin: Philippines – Indonesia

COPAIBA

Copaifera

Origin: Amazonia

CORN POPPY

Papaver rhoeas

Origin: Europe and North Africa

CORNFLOWER

Centaurea cyanus

Origin: Middle East

DAISY

Bellis perennis

Origin: Europe

EVENING PRIMROSE

Oenothera biennis

Origin: North America

GERANIUM

Pelargonium

Origin: South Africa

GINKGO BILOBA

Ginkgo biloba

Origin: World

GRAPE

Vitis vinifera

Origin: Caucasus

HEMP

Cannabis sativa

Origin: Central Asia

HIBISCUS

Hibiscus

Origin: India

INCA INCHI

Plukenetia volubilis

Origin: Peru

IRIS

Iris germanica, Iris florentina and Iris pallida

Origin: Italy

JASMINE

Jasminum grandiflorum, Jasminum sambac

Origin: India

JOJOBA

Simmondsias chinensis

Origin: Mexico

KALAHARI MELON

Citrullus lanatus

Origin: Namibia

KOHL

Antimonite

Origin: Morocco

KUKUI

Aleurites moluccana

Origin: Pacific Islands

LAVENDER

Lavandula

Origin: Persia

LEMON

Citrus limon

Origin: Far East

LILY

Lilium

Origin: Asia Minor

LOOFAH

Luffa acutangula, Luffa aegyptiaca, Luffa cylindrica

Origin: India

LOTUS

Nelumbo nucifera

Origin: India

MARIGOLD

Calendula officinalis

Origin: Mediterranean region

MARULA

Sclerocarya birrea

Origin: South Africa

MINT

Menthax piperita

Origin: Great Britain

MISWAK

Salvadora persica

Origin: West Africa

MONGOGO

Schinziophyton rautanenii

Origin: Botswana

NEEM

Azadirachta indica

Origin: India

NIGELLA

Nigella sativa

Origin: Egypt

NUT GRASS

Cyperus esculentus

Origin: Spain

OATS

Avena sativa

Origin: Northern Europe

OLIVE

Olea europaea

Origin: Mediterranean basin

PASSION FRUIT

Passiflora edulis

Origin: Brazil

PEARL

Avicula margaritifera

Origin: Tropical seas

PEONY

Paeonia suffruticosa, Paeonia rubrae and Paeonia officinalis

Origin: China

PERILLA

Perilla frutescens

Origin: South-East Asia

POMEGRANATE

Punica granatum

Origin: Turkey

PRACAXI

Pentaclethra macroloba

Origin: Brazil

PRICKLY PEAR

Opuntia ficus indica

Origin: Morocco

RASPBERRY

Rubus idaeus

Origin: Turkey

RICE

Oryza sativa

Origin: Asia

ROSE

Rosa damascena, Rosa gallica, Rosa rubiginosa

ROSEMARY

Rosmarinus officinalis

Origin: Mediterranean region

SAKE

Origin: Japan

SALT

Salarium

Origin: World

SAPOTE

Pouteria sapota

Origin: Mexico

SEA BUCKTHORN

Hippophae rhamnoides

Origin: Eurasia

SEAWEEDS

Wakame, Undaria pinnatifida, Kombu, Saccharina japonica, Nori, Porphyra, Funori, Gloiopeltis furcata

Origin: Asia

SESAME

Sesamum indicum

Origin: India

ST JOHN’S WORT

Hypericum perforatum

Origin: Europe

SWEET ALMOND

Prunus amygdalus dulcis

Origin: Mediterranean basin

TAMANU

Calophyllum inophyllum

Origin: Oceania, Polynesia and Africa

TEA

Camellia sinensis or Thea sinensis

Origin: Asia

TEA TREE

Melaleuca alternifolia

Origin: Australia

VITELLARIA

Vitellaria paradoxa

Origin: West Africa

WHEAT

Trictum

Origin: Middle East

WITCH HAZEL

Hamamelis virginiana

Origin: North America

image ACAI image

Oil (berries) — Origin: Amazonia

Euterpe
Euterpe

THE AMAZON’S GOLD

image

imagen Amazonia, there are two types of açaí: açaí-do-Pará, Euterpe oleracea, a palm tree from East Amazonia, and açaí-do-mato, Euterpe precatoria, from Central Amazonia. Both grow in hot, humid climates; they thrive best in marshland and help maintain the equilibrium of their natural habitat, namely the forests that line the Amazon River. Keep in mind that the palm tree is a type of grass, albeit a giant one, rather than an actual “tree”. Each infructescence – or cluster – has a few hundred fruit at its top, which take on a deep violet hue when ripe. The açaí’s purple berry boasts potent benefits: it is a godsend for the rural populations that cultivate it.

TEACHINGS FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL

image

The açaí’s properties were already celebrated by pre-Columbian civilizations, which made abundant use of it: its roots, administered as a decoction, treated jaundice and malaria; its fruit alleviated skin conditions; and its seeds were reputed to bring down fevers. Açaí wine was one of the pillars of these societies’ diets. Thanks to the fruit’s high concentration of antioxidants—ten times that of black grapes—and its protein content which equals that of an egg, it is now highly prized by the proponents of alternative organic and vegan diets.

In the 1990s, the fruit’s popularity spread to Rio, where it can now be enjoyed in açaí bars in the form of ice cream or granola. Its success and worldwide exportation feed a profitable market and foster the development of plantations. Recently, açaí has become an expensive commodity for the Ribeirinhos, the people of the river, who have relied on it for centuries.

THE CRYING FRUIT

image

Içà-çai is featured in a tragic legend that tells of the immense sorrow of a young woman who, during a particularly severe period of famine for her people, witnessed the sacrifice of her infant daughter and died at the foot of the fruit-covered tree that was to save her people from hunger.

“It is better to grow green again than to always be green.”

MADAME DE SéVIGNé

ON COLLECTING ACAI OIL

image

Just as rich as it is hard, this precious fruit is 90% seed and 10% pulp. It must be harvested with great care and picked by hand. Pickers have no choice but to climb up the palm tree’s stem – in dry weather so as not to slip. The berries are then cold-pressed. Their densely-textured oil is dark and green, much like the primal forest. It oozes a naturally pungent scent, which fades quickly after application.

THE BENEFITS

image

Spectacularly efficient after a few days’ use, açaí oil helps prevent the skin drying out and the passage of time leaving its marks. It is made up of more than 50% oleic acid (omega 9), which improves the skin’s elasticity and contributes to its optimal hydration. High in tannins, it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and astringent properties that make it the best ally of combination as well as dry skin types. Its high concentration of vitamin F protects the cells and fosters their turnover.

image

JUST A FEW DROPS

Desperate situations call for drastic remedies: açaí oil is the choice elixir of distressed skin. It is highly effective on skin that has been weakened by extreme levels of fatigue, by exposure to high winds and harsh sunlight, or on skin that displays signs of aging. Its smell is a bit too pungent to be applied in the morning, and its green tinge fades after application. Two or three drops of açaí oil, massaged every night at bedtime on a freshly cleansed face, work wonders! The skin becomes softer, stronger and more supple. It is refreshed and recovers its firmness.

 







 

image

ACAI OIL-BASED RECIPES

from l’Officine Universelle

image

Listen to your epidermis: sight and touch should guide your cosmetic instincts. Tight skin and a dull complexion call for immediate action.

Dilute a teaspoon of açaí powder in two spoonfuls of honey; then gently incorporate the blended pulp of half an avocado. Those with very dry skin can add three drops of açaí oil to this mixture. Put on your bathrobe, clear any loose hair strands away from your face, and apply this supple, bright green mask by hand. Get comfortably settled and leave on for twenty minutes. Rinse carefully and pat dry.

Abracadabra, your skin is now smoothed and soothed; now don’t forget to drink plenty of water or herbal tea.

Your skin has endured all your cosmetic experiments – but has it upped its tolerance threshold? Daily makeup removal using açaí oil should be your go-to method, instead of becoming more and more demoralized as you wait for better skin days.

For a very gentle facial cleanse, apply two or three drops of açaí oil to a cotton pad sprinkled – but never soaked! – with rose water. Run the pad gently over the whole face and neckline in small circular motions without ever actually rubbing the skin. It is recommended not to rinse, nor to leave to air dry, but rather to pat the face and neck with a fine, clean, dry cloth.

An ideal cleanse that leaves your skin immaculate and soothed.

Having fallen victim to the “blond princess syndrome”, and despite all sound advice, you refuse to cut your brown hair and wear your split ends proudly. Come to your senses and care for your hair with açaí oil.

Several times a week, apply two drops of açaí oil and one drop of Tamanu oil – gently warmed and mixed between your palms – onto the bottom third of your hair, brushed or unbrushed depending on the intended effect: this combination efficiently heals split ends and protects the hair from further damage.

 

image ALOE VERA image

Oily macerate, gel (leaves) — Origin: North Africa

Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis
Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

image

imageamed for its cosmetic and medicinal uses, Aloe vera is a succulent from the Liliaceae family. Nicknamed “the desert lily”, this aloe is known for its long, smooth and fleshy leaves, fringed with very tough thorns. It grows under the fire of the sun on dry terrain, and the wind and stones are the only nourishment it needs. Within its thick leaves lies an abundant pulp, as transparent and fresh as a gel, a miraculous source.

TEACHINGS FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL

image

The origins of Aloe vera remain murky for botanists. The plant reportedly originates from either the Arabian Peninsula or North Africa. Its name derives from the Arabic word alloeh, meaning “bitter”, and from the Latin word vera, meaning “true”. Its use and prescription have been documented in all Middle-Eastern cultures. In the case of the Sumerians, in the 3rd millennium B.C., clay tablets testify to its therapeutic benefits. The Egyptians considered Aloe vera to be a longevity elixir, and it is mentioned several times in the Ebers Papyrus – named after its translator – which dates back to the 16th century B.C., and contains the famed Book on the preparation of medicine for all parts of the human body. It celebrates the impressive healing power of aloe in embellishing, stimulating and caring for the skin, as well as warding off hair loss.

ON COLLECTING ALOE VERA

image

At full maturity, aloe leaves contain an almost transparent and viscous mucilaginous gel which is harvested with an expert cut, so as to preserve both the plant and its pulp. This gel can be applied directly onto the skin, but it oxidizes very quickly. For better preservation, incised leaves were once hung from the tip to let the juice flow out slowly, before cooking reduced it to a syrup. A more recent method opts for crushing and pulverizing the leaves. The powder that is thus obtained is highly stable and easy to preserve; it is used in many aloe vera-based products. This precious gel is nowadays also harvested by extraction, and pasteurization has finally made it possible to package fresh aloe vera juice. Macerating the plant in a neutral vegetable oil – such as sunflower or jojoba – is another way to harness its properties and to convey them as simply as possible to the skin. If there is some aloe vera in your garden, this source of freshness is within arm’s reach! Exercising just a little caution, it is not that hard to harvest some of its gel. Just cut one fine leaf at the base, choose a slice, cut off its spiny sides, run it under fresh water, and let the gel flow onto your skin.

THE BENEFITS

image

Aloe vera extract is rich in vitamin A, which increases cell turnover and alleviates dark spots; in vitamin C, which stimulates microcirculation within the skin; and in vitamins B and E, which help the cells fight oxidative stress. Its high concentration of minerals, trace elements and eighteen amino acids explains the potency of its effects on the skin and the accuracy of its nickname in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as the “harmonious remedy”. It is particularly effective when it comes to soothing the discomfort of sunburn and to revitalizing damaged and parched skin. It works wonders on skin that lacks vitality, which it smoothes and revives.

 







 

image

JUST A FEW DROPS

image

The joys of life as a couple, still passionate on a day-to-day basis, entail some embarrassing or irritating side-effects. Have fiery kisses from a three-day beard left marks on your delicate cheeks? Two pats of aloe vera gel, a few minutes before stepping out the door of your love nest, and you’ll be back to your old self – others will be none the wiser! Highly effective on a face that has been dried out by the open air, nothing short of miraculous on hands after gardening or indulging in DIY projects, a pat of aloe vera gel on freshly cleansed skin will be a fit reward for any exertion.

“Four plants are indispensable to man’s well-being: wheat, grapes, olives, and Aloe. The first one nourishes him, the second allows his spirit to rise, the third brings him harmony, and the fourth heals him.”

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS

image
 







 

image

ALOE VERA-BASED RECIPES

from l’Officine Universelle

image

You knew better, but you couldn’t resist the urge to be in communion with our neighboring star and the hot sand…. The deed is done, but the remedy may be within arm’s reach.

Don’t hesitate to apply a generous, healthy dollop of aloe vera gel to sunburn —the cooling and soothing effect is immediate. Once calm has been restored, restorative sleep once again becomes possible.

Remember, in a passionate relationship with the sun, the only choice is moderation. “Too much” is not an option! Traveling around with a tube of aloe vera gel does not exempt you from regularly ducking under the shade of a tree or a parasol!

Sometimes, you wish your eyes would speak less of the passage of time and how tired you are. The area surrounding the eyes is often in crisis: the skin is dry, thin, sensitive…. Add the collective benefits of the three ingredients in this serum to one delicious coffee and there you are, ready to look your Monday morning straight in the eye.

Using a whisk, emulsify two tablespoons of aloe vera gel, one teaspoon of cornflower hydrolate and three drops of Tamanu oil. Keep the mixture in the fridge in a little vial or a roll-on for up to a week. Apply every morning when you wake on the area around the eyes. Gently rub until it is absorbed, and your gaze will be at its finest.

The injustice of hair loss is a depressing form of capillary trauma…. Lay off the pixie dust and instead, invest in the ideal brush or comb. Enhance your scalp massages with a weekly treatment, to be performed in the quiet of your bathroom and combined with the scent of your favorite candle, the reading of a beloved poem, and the joyous sight of your hair recovering its radiance.

Thoroughly mix two tablespoons of aloe vera macerate, one tablespoon of coconut milk and two to three drops of lemon essential oil, using a small bamboo whisk. Apply this mask to the roots of dry hair, massaging it for two minutes, and finish by applying it all the way to the tips. Leave on for about twenty minutes, then wash out with a very gentle shampoo.

 

image ALUM STONE image

(Stone and powder) — Origin: Syria

Aluminiferous schist
Aluminiferous schist

PURITY STONE

image

imagen its natural state, this veined, translucent and rather brittle rock is made up of sulfuric acid, aluminum oxide and potassium sulfate. Historical evidence suggests that alunite mines were first exploited in Syria and Egypt, where the rocks come right up to the surface, as they do in some parts of Europe, notably Bohemia and Saxony.

TEACHINGS FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL

image

The ancient Greek philosopher and alchemist Theophrastus published a work entitled “On salt, niter and alum.” Indeed, alum is a close relative of the famed natron, which was used in medicine and for embalming bodies throughout ancient Egypt. In the Middle Ages, this stone was used to stabilize dyes and pigments. Naturally astringent and antiseptic, it is the traditional after-shave treatment of barbers. To clarify and purify water, one can throw some alum into it – it is reputed to remove impurities. In the Maghreb, mouth ulcers and other oral ailments are healed by gargling some pure water enhanced with alum powder. In Morocco, the so-called “Roman’s mixture”, which contains alum powder, jujube and coarse salt, is said to ward off the evil eye.

ON COLLECTING ALUM STONE

image

Traditionally, alum stone is divided, cut and polished by hand into a soft, smooth cobble, which can be easily run over the skin of the cheeks, neck and chin. There are two types of alum stone – the natural version, which is preferable, and one synthesized from crystallized alunite. Natural alum stone is translucent, veined and ribbed. By contrast, the reconstituted stone is opaque and homogenous.

THE BENEFITS

image

The aluminum sulfate and potassium sulfate that are naturally present in alum stone have antibacterial and astringent properties that help tighten the skin’s pores, minimize sweating, and encourage hemostasis after the occurrence of minor cuts.

 







 

image

JUST A FEW DROPS

image

In order to enjoy the full benefits of alum stone, it is best to opt for the natural version. To use, briefly douse the alum stone with fresh water, and apply to damp skin. It is an ideal after-shave which prevents the onset of ingrown hairs and blemishes. It is also a natural alternative to deodorants, as it minimizes sweating and inhibits the growth of bacteria. In powder form it can also be used as talcum powder, or as a bath salt, to treat clammy hands and feet.

 







 

image

ALUM-BASED RECIPES

from l’Officine Universelle

A hand and foot bath to promote clarity and heal minor aches.

Is your skin cut and scraped? To calm the damage wrought by gardening and to purify the skin, to relieve ingrown nails before a pedicure, or cleanse the wound on your knee after a fall, allow a large tablespoon of alum stone powder to dissolve in a small tub filled with warm water. Soak your hands or feet in it for about ten minutes, or douse the area that needs to be cleaned, and rinse with clear water. After this treatment, which you can supplement with some lemon if your nails are stained, gently massage half a teaspoon of shea butter onto work-weary hands and around the nails.

Sandal alert! Feet that are fresh out of winter or too callused for summer can be beautified with this weekly scrub.

In a small bowl, carefully mix one level tablespoon of alum stone powder with two teaspoons of argan oil and two drops of geranium essential oil. Gently scrub the feet – their soles, heels and toes – with this mixture, which, by the way, can also be used as a hand scrub. Finish on the back of your hands and rinse with warm water.

Only stone is innocent.

HEGEL

 

image AMLA image

Powder (fruit) — Origin: India

Phyllanthus emblica
Phyllanthus emblica

THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA

image

imagenown as “amalaki” in Sanskrit and nicknamed the “longevity tree”, this shrub thrives in the humid forests of Northern India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It is grown with great care for its fruit – a sort of precious gooseberry – and is in fact positively “pampered”: in summer, farmers protect its trunk from the sun with a layer of mud, and light small fires around it whenever the temperature drops dramatically in order to keep its leaves from falling….

TEACHINGS FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL

image

The saying goes that Amla is to plants as gold is to rocks: popular wisdom recommends sitting beneath an Amalaki tree to stimulate vitality and health. Rich in vitamins, it is one of the constituents of Triphala, an Indian Ayurvedic panacea and one of the oldest Ayurvedic healing formulae, reputed to balance the organs and alleviate their ailments. This Indian gooseberry is famous for its tremendous anti-aging powers: it is reportedly the great secret behind the long-lasting youthfulness of Indian ladies and their splendid jet-black hair.

ON COLLECTING AMLA

image

In the northern hemisphere, its fruits are harvested in December and January. With their vivid, bright green color and their sourness, they can be eaten raw or dried, stewed into jellies, or preserved as jams or syrups. For cosmetic use, the berries are dried in the open air and later crushed to a powder to be used as a natural dye.

THE BENEFITS

image

Amla’s reputation is for its high concentration of vitamins: vitamins A and C foster cell turnover in the epidermis. Vitamin C stimulates microcirculation within the skin. Vitamin E protects skin and hair from oxidation. Amla’s beneficial, fortifying and invigorating effects derive from its high concentration of polyphenols: tannins, flavonoids, gallic acid and ellagic acid.

 







 

image

A FEW PINCHES

image

Amla is the plant that Indian women use most often to care for their sumptuous hair. Its powder is mixed with a vegetable oil to enhance and soften the hair, stimulate its growth, and ward off the onset of grayness. It also tints the hair, and so is best suited to brunettes.

 







 

image

ALMA-BASED RECIPES

from l’Officine Universelle

One can enjoy the passage of time and still try to postpone its effects: this formula preserves the vigor of brown hair and delays the onset of grayness.

In a large, pipette-less pharmaceutical flask, mix two hundred milliliters of coconut oil with fifty grams of amla powder. Let it rest for a week, shaking the flask daily, so that a fine maceration can take place. Apply a small amount of this fluid to dry hair, section by section, and leave on for at least ten minutes prior to shampooing. This potent mixture keeps for a month in a closed flask, away from direct sunlight.

Think of this rinsing treatment as a journey, which cosmetic explorers will relish.

Boil ten or so amla berries (after removing the seeds), or a tablespoon of powder, in two cups of filtered water. Once the fruit has softened, add six fresh, neutral henna leaves and remove from the heat. Cover and allow to infuse until the water cools down. Filter and store in a bottle, which you should keep in a cool place. To stimulate hair growth, use this amla water to rinse your hair after each gentle shampoo.

 

image ANDIROBA image

Oil (seeds) — Origin: Brazil

Carapa guianensis
Carapa guianensis

JUNGLE POWER

image

imagen the spring-time, Carapa guianensis is covered with attractive, sweet-scented red flowers. It is a tropical tree that thrives in the Amazon Rainforest and Central America, on the land lining the river that snakes through the forest. The andiroba grows in the vicinity of the rubber tree and the ucuhuba, or baboonwood. Its fruit, shaped like a tiny flying saucer, contains about ten nuts.

TEACHINGS FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL

image

Carapa guianensis