NOURISH [ˈnəriSH]: provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition
Unfortunately, I am not the kind of Real Housewife who gets to hang out at the spa all day long…sigh! However, for Mother’s Day, besides drinking a HOT cup of coffee in the morning, I really wanted to indulge in a little pampering. I have mentioned the love/hate relationship I have with my skin before, and after a couple of my friends told me about their recent experiences with laser peels and microdermabrasion, I felt like it was time for me to step up my own skin care game. I wanted to splurge on a facial but, of course, not any facial! It had to be Healthy Haus approved using only non-toxic procedures and products. So, after asking my google machine rather specifically about “all natural facials in the Phoenix area”, I found Sage Organic Skincare’s website and knew right away that I had to go!
“I can’t emphasize enough how the awareness of the harmful substances we expose ourselves to daily, and of the vital role our skin plays in our body’s functioning are key factors to maximizing the health and beauty of ourselves and of our loved ones. Though health plays a tremendous role in a glowing complexion, I further believe beauty is accomplished by embracing what is truly important in life, caring for our personal well-being while simultaneously considering environmental health. Sage was created upon these principles. It is a reflection of everything I am passionate about and represents my longing to nurture, share, and learn.”
Mamas, meet natural beauty and organic skin care expert Amber Zoellner!
A Phoenix native, Amber has had a homeopathic doctor in her life since she was eleven years old, making her aware of environmental toxins and interested in conscious living from an early age. When she was in high school and college, she did use the same toxic junk as everyone else, but eventually, came back to the clean lifestyle and green beauty. In fact, so much so, that she decided to get her cosmetologist license and turn her passion into a business. Over four years later, her neighborhood mini spa has turned into her “baby” taking up all of her time.
When I first walked into her place I was very impressed as it felt more like someone’s welcoming and airy home rather than a typical, somewhat sterile or dark spa environment. With chill coffee house music playing, Amber welcomed me with a big smile. She took some time to get to know me first and really listened to my skin concerns. “You are in for a treat.”
We decided the best option for me would be her signature facial – simple and results oriented, feeding my skin with the help of all natural products. Amber uses Dr. Alkaitis, a line of highly effective, high quality and earthy-smelling cosmetics containing only 100% organic ingredients. I had never heard of the brand before as it seems to be lesser known in Arizona but hugely popular in other parts of the country such as Oregon and the Midwest.
During my visit, I also received my first dermafile treatment which is a similar concept as microdermabrasion but without the powerful vacuum that can cause broken capillaries. Instead, it is a diamonds-and-stainless steel file which is used manually to offer a deeper, chemical-free exfoliation. This was especially helpful for unclogging pores and getting rid of dry, flaky skin in certain areas of the face and neck. While initially leaving a few red spots, it worked well for me and was suitable for my rather sensitive skin.
The biggest difference between this and the handful of other facials I have had before was that Amber sees herself as a “skin chef.” She incorporates fresh ingredients (such as coconut oil, honey, teas, yogurt, cucumber, and aloe) in her treatments, daily preparing – literally – a nutritious “meal for your face.” For me, she combined an exfoliating mask with goats milk yogurt as the lactic acid in it naturally exfoliates the skin. To heal and repair, Amber used a restorative mask mixed with raw honey – one of her favorite ingredients. “Raw honey has antibacterial properties making it an excellent choice for acne prone skin. It is also extremely moisturizing and full of antioxidants which helps slow down the aging process. I swear by the May Lindstrom Honey Mud Mask. It is really good but also pretty expensive. Sometimes I make my own mask with honey, adding just a little bit of cinnamon and a couple of drops of lavender or tea tree oil. I use this on myself and my sister and we both love it!”
Amber oozes passion for nature and truly walks the (healthy living) talk. To me, she also offered a wealth of knowledge on natural beauty and skin health without being pushy or extreme. She confirmed that sugar, alcohol and lack of water are huge enemies of your complexion. However, she also stressed the importance of balance in our lives. “If you decide you need to eat a piece of cake or whatever, then eat it.” And I agree: As long as you know what it is that you are feeding your body, you can make an informed decision. Sometimes that decision includes a glass of wine at night. And that’s OK.
Other advice when it comes to nourishing your skin? The effects that dairy can have on acne breakouts. I have been living dairy free for a couple of weeks because I have found a lot of research confirming that there is, in fact, a correlation between the two. While most physicians (including the ones I have been seeing) do not acknowledge this, other practitioners such as estheticians and homeopaths (professionals who cannot prescribe medication for acne) do. And Amber confirmed that it can actually make a difference for a lot of people. “Especially if you eat a lot of yogurt. Then you get the lactose and the added sugar – sort of a double whammy.” Additionally, to help with with the hormonal ups and downs that keep affecting my skin she also recommended acupuncture. “There is a lady here in Phoenix who does communal acupuncture at a very reasonable price. She has helped me with some stuff like that before.”
As far as products to use at home are concerned, Amber has some available for sale in her store but did not push to “sell” me anything. I ended up buying the S.W. Basics Cream
which I had been wanting to try ever since I got hooked on their toner. Even though I have acne prone skin I still get occasional dry patches, especially now as the temperatures in Arizona are on the rise. The SW Basics Cream is perfect for that. “Something about the combination of shea butter, coconut and olive oil that just works. I put it on at night and when I wake up, my skin feels amazing.” In addition, Amber gave a me a detailed list of products she recommends specifically for my other skin concerns, which I am excited to try and review. She admitted that some of her go-to brands like Dr. Alkaitis are pricey so she encouraged me to mix it up with small batch artisanal brands such as Leahlani Skincare.
If you are in the Phoenix area and are looking for an exceptional beauty treatment, I highly recommend Sage Organic Skincare. When I left there an hour and a half later, my skin was completely transformed. It was truly glowing – something I had never really experienced before – and was baby soft to the touch. The best part: The positive difference the facial made in my complexion is still noticeable today, ten days later. What a lovely, rejuvenating experience from start to finish! I am counting the days until I get to come back.
Yes, that is a hint. My birthday is in August. Please tell Mr. Healthy Haus when you see him.
All photo credit: Amber Zoellner. This post includes affiliate links. Please see the general disclaimer for details.