SPRING, YOUR BODY AND YOUR SKIN

We can say that Spring is finally here. Yayyy!!! I am loving longer days, warmer temperatures and no more snow…Personally, it was a strange winter so I am very happy it’s gone.

I thought it would be a great time to share a few tips for your body and skin care as we welcome Spring because every season is unique and we ought to approach it as such.  

If you are already paying attention, you can surely recognize the distinguished feelings both in body and mind that come with Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

It actually is very important to pay close attention to the relationship between our body and the environment we live in. 

When we do, we quickly notice that even if we love all seasons there is always that one that brings our physical and emotional challenges to the surface.

For example, if you are by nature prone to overheat and your skin has a tendency for redness, you may not feel your greatest on a very hot Summer day. If you are always cold and your skin is dry you will probably not love very cold winter months. 

This of course is very simplified but the gist of it is that ‘like increases like and opposite heals’. 

If nature presents you at a given time with qualities that are already very high in your physical and emotional makeup you will want to work to bring balance through diet and daily practices which pacify these qualities. 

We are part of the environment and nature’s rhythms bring us along if we are ready or not. The moral of the story is be ready! From now on, let’s look to transitional time between the seasons as time for personal renewal. 

As seasons change we need to let go of what’s not needed and make space for the new. Breathe in fresh air and breath out the old. Clear our house and closets … you probably already know this and already do this:) 

But there is more and going along with nature’s rhythms rather than against them will bring greater ease to adapt to our environment and will also bring greater health, the skin included:)

When Spring arrives, snow melts, earth thaws and becomes saturated with water (I should know, I just got water in my basement… bummer:( ) and plant life awakens beneath the ground. 

This is a beautiful process of life awakening (except for the water in my basement) but the strong presence of this quality in the environment makes it challenging for some of us.

If you are of a constitution that is prone to stagnation, water retention and heaviness you may want to be particularly ready for Spring. Time to cleanse is here for everyone but if you have many of the earthy and watery qualities in your body and mind, you will need some extra self-loving and discipline to go through it smoothly.

This is what you maybe experiencing as Spring arrives:

Feeling blue, depressed, unmotivated, lazy                                                                                          

Your skin may look dull, congested, puffy, stagnant, lack of luster                                                      

Your body may feel heavy, puffy, more cellulite shows up, water retention, extra weight, general lymphatic congestion.

If you are experiencing a few of the above (not a great feeling) there is lots you can do to get over the hump. 

The suggestions bellow are great for any constitution to follow this time of the year but the earthy type must apply itself very well.

There are few very important things to know before you begin.

Movement is of the essence! You will want to make a conscious commitment to move your body, especially if movement does not come easy to you. Not negotiable!

This is also the best time of the year to cleanse. It does not need to be complicated. 

Here are suggestions related to food: 

Remove dairy, flour products, sugar and all heavy meats and go easy on salt. 

If you normally include a lot of nuts in your diet, go easy on nuts at this time of the year. 

Coffee… let go if you can:)

Add plenty of bitter, astringent and pungent foods… greens and sprouts, dandelion greens, radicchio, arugula, endive… broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, onion.

Berries, blueberry, strawberry, apples and pears as well as dried fruit will be good choices now.

Barley, buckwheat, rye and millet are good grain choices for Spring.

If you are experiencing a lot of stagnation and congestion and would like to let go of some weight, sip hot water throughout the day.

DAILY ROUTINE:

Wake up by 6am:)

Good to start your day with gratitude.

Drink a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon.

Dry skin brushing every morning before your shower, will make you feel awake and light and will encourage healthy lymph flow. Use natural bristle brush. None of that synthetic stuff please. 

Stretch.

Movement: yoga, walk, dance or anything that you like and gets you moving.

Few minutes on a mini-trampoline every morning provides excellent support for the lymphatic system (especially if you are prone to water retention and lymph stagnation). You will be very pleased with the results!  You can buy an inexpensive mini trampoline at Walmart.

But this is the one I love: needak.ca

There are so many practices which can enhance your health and beauty… don’t want to put you in the overwhelm lol

How you eat is as important as what you eat, so sit down and take your time. Favour foods which I have already listed.

Eat a light breakfast.

Have your hot water handy throughout the day and sip.

Lunch should be your biggest meal of the day.

Small dinner no later than 6pm.

In bed by 10pm.

Ending your day with meditation or breath awareness practice or journaling would be ideal. Actually, best to do all of them:)

SKIN CARE:

If you will apply all of the above your skin should be feeling pretty good already. But we can make it feel even better!

A good facial will be of great benefit now. You know where to get one:) I do keep busy so please plan ahead.

I will include more lymph drainage, more stimulation and more detoxification in your treatments at this time of the year. We want to bring lightness, brightness and softness back to your skin after the long cold winter.

There will be more clay and Spring specific herbs to help us achieve this. Kind of like what you will be doing with your body and your diet at home.

You can add a few minutes of self-face massage to your skin care routine at home. This works wonders!

I am not much for scrubbing but a very gentle exfoliation can be beneficial now. If you live in a very sensitive skin... skip it.

You may need to adjust your skin care routine and products you are currently using.  We can chat about this if you’d like.

Good gentle clay mask 1x a week will help with detoxification and exfoliation….

To sum up, free flow, releasing excess and stagnation, movement and lightness are what we are going for. You want to make sure that all channels of elimination are working well.

If you are constipated and congested in your respiratory passages you must address the issue. No free flow can happen if you are pooping every other day and if you are full of mucus…. I can make suggestions and recommend holistic doctors to help you.

If fresh juicing is something that you want to explore I recommend Pure Kitchen. They offer organic fresh pressed juices which are delicious. I recommend green juices from their menu, preferably with a little bit of ginger to warm things up. As a boost, their Healed juice with turmeric is my favourite:)

I think this is it for now. If you apply these suggestions, you will feel an improvement in how you feel and you will experience that healthy glow. You will also prepare your body for a smooth transition into the Summer season and you will become more in sinc with nature's rhythms.  And that's always a good thing!

Have an amazing Spring and may you feel light and bright!

Magdalena

 

Woman Divine online store is live!!!

It was one of my goals for 2016 to create the online store. I barely made it:) but it’s finally here:

www.womandivine.ca/shop

This is very exciting for me and I hope that it will make it easier for you to purchase Woman Divine handcrafted skin care products.

Working solo is a beautiful thing but I can appreciate that buying products from me until now might have seemed a little bit like buying illegal drugs…:) You leave your money in a special envelope, I leave your merchandise in a special place…:) Thank you for being so understanding and easy going about this! I truly appreciate it!

As you know, my company is small, very small:)  but I do want to make a difference. Making high quality organic skin care accessible to all women who want to live a healthy life with a healthy glow is my priority.

I make this happen by selling directly to you. There are no middlemen, and no need to inflate my prices. Woman Divine products are available only through my online shop and the studio.

I handcraft these organic plant based products to inspire you to take loving care of yourself and to bring more beauty and health into your life. I believe that using them should be your everyday practice, and not just a luxury.                                                                                                                  

With the new store come a few changes and I would like to tell you about them.

1) New labels, new look.                                                                                                                                 Woman Divine skin care products got a fresh, clean and modern look. I hope that you will like it. In the process some products got renamed. Here it goes:

Face Serum / restorative blend is now Face Serum rose + sandalwood

Regenerating Face Oil is now Face Oil frankincense + camellia

Rose Hydrosol changed to Rosewater Mist

2) We have a few new products:

Face Serum fennel + primrose / to keep our skin nice and tight and to give it some luster

Face Oil calendula + chamomile  / for sensitive and delicate skin / with our local organic herbs and sunflower oil as part of the blend

Body Oil jasmine + tuberose / a beautiful hydrating oil with a lovely sweet scent

Lip Balm argan + orange / my lip balms are really lovely:)

I am working on new products, which will be created, around our local organic herbs… good stuff coming in the future.                                                                               

3) Your Woman Divine products can always be purchased during your visits.

When purchasing online you have a choice to have products delivered to you or to pick them up at the studio. All the details about purchases, shipping and such can be found on the customer care page of my website: www.womandivine.ca/customer-care

 

 I would like to say thank you and acknowledge a few talented people who have helped me with this big project.

Karoly Molnar has put my website together and created the Woman Divine online store. Karoly is a very smart guy with great work ethics…. I am very lucky to have his support and I feel very grateful!

Anne-Marie Bouchard is an amazing photographer who transferred my vision into beautiful images and made my website and store oh so awesome and good looking! You can look at her work and book through her website: www.ambphoto.com

Graphic designer, Sylvain Cregheur is responsible for creating our new logo, Woman Divine printed material and of course giving my products new look.  I am so happy I found Sylvain. He is very talented and wonderful to work with.  And he did an amazing job! You can find him at:

www.empatiqdesign.com

Sascha Smith created lovely cotton and gauze draw string bags to hold the Woman Divine All You Need is Balm collection. Sascha creates lovely impeccable quality designs. You can find Sascha and her business at

www.hintoflime.ca

I highly recommend services of everyone mentioned above! If you ever need a job well done, these are your people to hire.

So, this is a new chapter for me and my business. Wish me good luck please:) I trust this is just the beginning...

 If you have any product or online store related questions or any other questions for that matter, you know where to find me:)

Thank you for being here with me,

Magdalena

The secret to the best facial ever!

I can not speak for other skin care professionals but in my approach glowing skin is as much of a treatment goal as it is invoking a state of deep relaxation. I actually do not see true skin healing taking place without addressing the body's need for relaxation and deep rest. 

Consequently I spend a great deal of time and energy on developing better skills to deliver both, glow and deep rest. The quality of my touch, aromatic oils, herbs and products I use and the rhythm of the massage all synergistically dictate your treatment outcome. 

But since there are two of us in a treatment room, I must tell you that you also play a big part and you too can contribute to the success of your facial treatment.  Your attitude, your focus and your mindful presence during treatment can take the whole experience from excellent to out-of-this-world amazing.

Next time you come to the studio, let me figure out what to apply, how and so on... I've got you covered:) But, how you show up during your facial is as important.

First, simple and obvious stuff.

1.Turn off your phone!!! It is disruptive, mostly to you and to tell the truth a little bit to me. An intruder of peace and flow, it constantly grabs your attention with its urgent sounds and pulls you away from yourself and into the world.... I know it is useful but not during the time you have designated for yourself.

2.Make a mental note to self that you do consciously designate this time for you and you only. Do not let your appointment be just another thing on your to do list. Leave the worries out the door and embrace peace and quiet. 

3.Best, not to receive any treatment including facials with a full stomach so do your best not to come after a big meal. 

4.Don't plan big parties or shopping or anything too engaging right after your treatment. Intentionally move slower. A few rest filled hours afterwords will add more benefit to your general wellbeing.

Clients often comment on how good they feel after the treatment. There is a lot happening with the body and mind because of the massage you received during your facial. The 'feeling good' feeling:) is much more than just a feeling. To sum it up:

-muscles and other tissues relax and are able to receive proper nourishment through increased blood supply. 

-there is an increased flow of life-giving oxygen to the tissues

-waste is flushed out and drained from the facial tissues

-massage brings fluidity back to your facial expression.

All of above bring on a healthy glowing complexion, good colour, good tone and elasticity to all skin layers, erasing wrinkles and helping hold the contours of your face.

 There is more:)

-massage of the face affects your nervous system, vital energy points located around the head and face (and there are many) and deeply nourishes and relaxes the entire body (as you have been able to experience with my treatments).

And you are able to enhance this benefit of your facial by tenfold if you only choose to stay present in your body as we work together. What do I mean?

Do not let your mind take control. Do not engage in thoughts about work, family, laundry, things that are stressful at the moment... Rather choose to listen to your body, follow your breath and let the insisting thoughts gently float away. The more present you are during your treatment the deeper we can reach that state which deeply nourishes and relaxes the entire body. Just watch and see.

I probably don't need to tell you about a stressed body and mind and how living in that state robs you of your vital energy and ultimately zaps joy out of your life. But sometimes we play stress down and say 'it's just stress' and we leave things as they are until we fall apart... 

Next time you're booking your face treatment remember that it is going to bring much more benefit than a glow to your skin. Feeling pleasure is not just a flighty thing but rather a state which has a serious effect on your body/mind. There are beneficial hormonal and biochemical chain reactions taking place as you experience pleasure in your body... this is good! 

You know well that when you feel solid in your body and good in your skin the whole world is a brighter place. Your relationships flourish, you're confident and you are simply able to take life on. I am not saying that a facial with me will make everything in your life better but it definitely can be one of the steps to get there especially if you choose to be present and mindful in the process. 

So here you go, this is the secret to the best facial ever:)

Until next time,

Magdalena

This is why I do it.

If you are reading this, we probably have known each other for some time. Actually, few of my clients have been gracing my life with their presence for twenty years straight. It appears we are getting old together like a married couple. Yet many clients still ask me how my work really come about.

When I look back, I can see exactly why I have chosen this path in service. I grew up with a very nurturing mom and a very sick dad.  He was suffering very much and she was doing everything she could to make it better. Long story short, food was always freshly and mindfully prepared, we drank freshly pressed carrot juice (we are talking the 1960’s so give my mama respectJ). There was an aloe plantation living on our window sill and mom was frequently preparing healing remedies for dad. She rubbed our feet and backs with essential oils when we had colds... She never took natural healing courses. Simply put she was wise from within. She applied what she had learned from her mom, relied on her intuition and definitely listened to her heart.

From my mom I have learned the beauty and value of nurturing, compassion, inner wisdom and the desire to create harmony within and without. She has also taught me about the importance of prime quality ingredients both in food and remedy preparation. 

My dad did get better by the way and was with us until my early twenties.

Dad was a master tailor and created bespoke men’s wear. He designed and made beautiful pieces of clothing, all by hand. The process required many hours of tedious work and a lot of care. People lined up for my dad’s services because he made them feel and look great and his work was of excellent quality.

From dad, I learned about unquestionable value of a handcrafted product, high quality service and about developing caring relationships with people we serve in life.

Without a doubt, my parents’ influence stands behind my strong desire to nurture and heal and to make effective botanical skin care products.  Both parents gifted me with creativity and a deep appreciation for beauty, design and creative thinking.

I will now skip my teenage years and my early twenties as I know my parents would rather I not talk about it:)

When I came to Canada, I was immediately attracted to healing modalities and studied quite a few bla bla bla…

At one point I found myself working at the beautiful Carmichael Inn and Spa in Ottawa. It was a lovely place. Because of my suggestion the owners brought in Jurlique organic skin care line, which as you know I have worked with for many years. This is how professional organic skin care started for me and actually this is how it may have started for Ottawa. It was 20 years ago!!! We are talking times when every esthetician in the city was putting toxic stuff on people’s skin…

I will always be grateful for discovering Jurlique at that time and to the Carmichael Spa for giving me the opportunity to explore the organic skin care world. Otherwise, I probably would have never transitioned my practice from massage therapy to skin care because working with toxic products was never an option for me.

Over the years I have worked along many exceptional therapists, too many to mention. I always felt lucky to be part of the natural medicine community as I never felt part of the esthetic world and until today I have a strong dislike for the beauty industry in general.

I had come to fully understand the holistic beauty approach when Ayurveda showed up in my life. I do not remember the exact timing but one of the Ayurvedic books sitting on my shelf is marked 1997. From the get go, I was taken by the deep wisdom and applicability of the science. It helped me organize in my head what I’ve always felt in my heart but had no ability to verbalize.

Rather than the superficial model of beauty promoted by the skin care industry, Ayurveda taught about Beauty being the highest level of health, the sacred aspect of female and connectedness of all living things. It all resonated deeply within me and I felt as I have finally arrived home. The name of my business, Woman Divine, was actually inspired by these teachings.  Ayurveda also brought together my studies of spirituality, herbs, oils, touch therapies and nutrition and from this point I understood that they were most powerful and most effective when applied together.

So, today here I am in my lovely studio, aloe plants on my window sill are replaced with jars of herbal infusions. I lovingly design and handcraft my skin care products and every day I get to nurture through my treatments…  many plans for the future, many creative ideas. We’ll see how it all unfolds but one thing is for sure, without you none of this would even make sense. There would be no treatments, no products to make. I can understand now that we do find happiness in service to others and this is the greatest gift I could have gotten from my parents.

Magdalena

I thought you might like this

Hi there :-) I know, it has been a while... moving, renovations... to put it shortly there was no time or energy left for writing blog posts. I know you'll understand. Since Spring is here and I'm feeling human again, I thought I will say hello and share with you some good resources to help you with Spring cleansing if you wish to go ahead with it this season. Always a good idea.
Ok, so there are many great people offering great services and sometimes it is difficult to decide. I will give you my favourites.

11072812_848520858565271_7705307935959663972_n.jpg

NUTRITION

Amy Longard Registered Holistic Nutritionist. You can find her here. Amy is a great, kind and caring person and very knowledgeable in the nutrition department. She does one on one consultations and offers all kinds of nutrition related workshops all around the city. If you want to take a good look at your diet and/or a Spring cleanse she is your person to book with.

Donna Davis is an avid athlete, yogi and nutrition coach. She is a very generous spirit, fun and down to earth. She periodically offers online programs geared at cleansing and nutrition. She runs a private Facebook group where people can ask questions, share recipes and such. If online is your thing you can find Donna here.

JUICING

Urban Juice Press is a very cool place founded by Justin Gauthier. Their fresh pressed juices are organic, delicious and come in glass bottles:)  You can get a single juice or choose from various package options. You can buy their juices in shop at 340 Parkdale or online here. My personal humble opinion is that juicing is a great way to clean your system up, particularly in Spring and Fall.

SIMPLE AYURVEDIC KITCHARI CLEANSE is always nice to do.  The recipe is in the previous post I have written many moons ago:) you will find it here. I would add sprouts and bitters to my kitchari cleanse in the Spring.

NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS

If you feel that you want to have a serious check up and guidance from a naturopath here two great Ottawa doctors.

Dr. Kristy Lewis at Sage Wellness specializes in women's health.

Dr. Jan Dorrell at Keenan Health Centre.

Both doctors are wonderful, down to earth and a pleasure to work with.

RESTAURANT

Pure Kitchen is my absolutely favourite in town. Vegetarian with many vegan option and their fresh pressed juices are delicious. 'Healed' is my #1

SKIN CARE

When seasons change, it is a great time to get a face treatment and to take a look at your home routine. You know where to find me:)

So there you have it. I hope you find this helpful.

All best,
Magdalena

Ps. If you have not been to my new studio yet, I must tell you I really love it. It is bright and sunny and... I just love it!!!

KITCHARI - A simple meal that heals

I am not a fan of detoxifying diets in the midst of cold Canadian winter. Intuitively it does not feel like a right thing to do while my body is doing all it can to stay warm. But we often feel heavier and less energetic by the time February strolls in... I know I do.

If you feel like integrity of your diet is questionable and you would like to help your body feel more alive but do not wish to wait until Spring (a more appropriate time of the year for body cleansing and detox), you can do something about it now.

Kitchari is the answer:)  This Ayurveda inspired warm soup that I make is delicious, very satisfying and is an amazing source of nutrients. Easy to digest and assimilate kitchari taken as a mono diet gives a perfect break to your digestive system while feeding you well and keeping you warm.

Kitchari- healing food

Kitchari- healing food

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup - Brown Basmati Rice
  • 1 cup - Mung Dhal (split yellow) or whole if you are not prone to gas 
  • 6 cups - Water
  • 1/2 to 1 inch - Fresh Ginger grated or chopped
  • 1/4 tsp - Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 2 tsp - Ghee or Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp - Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp - Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 tsp - Whole Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp - Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp - Turmeric Powder
  • handful - Fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • 2 cups - Assorted Vegetables (I like to add kale asparagus and broccoli)

Preparation

  • Carefully pick over rice and dal to remove any stones. 
  • Wash each separately. 
  • Add the 6 cups of water to the rice and dal and cook covered until it becomes soft.
  • While that is cooking, prepare vegetables. Cut them into smallish pieces. Add the vegetables to the cooked rice and dal mixture and cook 10 minutes longer.
  • In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the ghee until they pop. 
  • Then add the other spices. 
  • Stir together to release the flavours. 
  • Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. 
  • Add the mineral salt and chopped fresh cilantro and serve.

You can eat it for a week or two, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Drink plenty of purified water. You can add a glass of freshly squeezed vegetable green juice with some warming ginger to add more nutrients, if you wish.

It is a lovely, easy to prepare and healing meal. If you are feeling a need to give your body a break this is a perfect choice during cold winter months.

Body balms, oils & self-massage

By now you are probably feeling dry all over and your skin is screaming for some extra oil. 

Indoor heating, extra layers of clothing... same story every winter.

You can slap some oil on just to improve the skin hydration or, I have a better idea. A bit more involving but a whole lot more rewarding :-)

You will need:

  • a natural bristle brush
  • oil or body balm (preferably specific to your body type and needs... I can help you with this) 
  • and about 20minutes of your time.

Best to practice in the morning... it is invigorating and will make you feel all tingly.

Start with the dry brush:
run it up your body starting with the feet and legs, hands and arms and the rest.it is not brain surgery... simple upward or circular strokes will do.
Do not be too rough. gentle does it!
You can jump in the shower when you are done
or use a warm damp cloth to wipe of the loose dead skin cells still lingering on.
You are ready for a self massage now.
Warmed up oil feels amazing and works great on dry skin.
Drop a small bottle of oil into hot water, wait few minutes and there you have it.
Start with your head, working down all the way to your toes. Be generous with the oil... it is good for you.
Take your time, massage gently and increase the pressure to what feels right for you.

Self massage or Abhyanga in sanskrit is a daily Ayurvedic practice.
'Aba' means glow and Anga means 'limbs'.
Benefits of daily Abhyanga : improved sleep, well nourished tissues, healthy skin...
If you do it daily your skin will be very happy and it will feel like a baby's bottom and that's a promise.

If you would like to indulge in an organic handcrafted body oil visit my products page.

Not to brag but my latest Cardamon Rose Body Balm is luxurious and smells divine.

Before the year ends...

Recently, I have discovered this delicious spiced tea by Numi Organic Tea ... In a pretty cup,  I make it as a latte with frothed almond milk and a good sprinkle of cinnamon. I feel like a little girl drinking it. Not sure why, it just makes me feel good inside. Sometimes when I sit down to have my cup of delight, I ponder a bit on the year almost gone by.

I am so very GRATEFUL for my work and people who 'put their beauty in my hands'. Some of the clients have been coming to see me for nearly 20 years. We share many laughs, a few tears and a passion for pure non-pretentious, relaxing beauty care with a soul. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your continuous support! I consider myself very lucky!

It is safe to say it was a busy, challenging year; Full of creative ideas few of which turned into reality and many more still waiting to be pursued.

  1. I was able to design a few new handcrafted skin care formulas and the following are the principal blends: Protective Face Balm, Cell Regenerating Face oil, Soothing Face Oil, a Lip Balm and the latest addition - the Cardamon Rose Body Balm. I am learning a lot as I go along and I am loving oils and herbs more and more. It is a complete pleasure to formulate products in small batches for women I know. I am still tweaking the labels and packaging but should have it sorted out soon. 
  2. I have finally found pure long strand Mulberry silk pillow cases!!! It took two years to find the real deal... I almost gave up  a few times in the process. I am very glad I did not and many clients say they will never sleep on anything else but their silk. Mission accomplished!!!
  3. We had some renos in the building and woman divine studio got a fresh coat of paint and a new lovely cabinet in the treatment room. I am still working on organizing the aromatic dispensary area in my little space... work in progress...
  4. I held a few workshops - Face Yoga and The Art of Oils. It has been a dream to share my knowledge in group settings. I have been putting it off simply from lack of confidence in my public speaking ability...I have done only a few here and there in the past. This year the desire was too strong to ignore. I am enjoying teaching very much and so far I have received lots of positive feedback and a full class for each workshop taught. Thank you to all who come and share in my passion for oils and for the Woman Divine Mindful Beauty Practice vision. More workshops are coming in the 2015.
  5. We (myself, woman divine and the oils) have made it into the Ottawa Citizen and the National Post. I am deeply thankful to Janet Wilson from the Ottawa Citizen for a great article and to all the women who found their way to woman divine and my aromatic skin care thanks to this very article. 
  6. Thanks to all of you and your generous support by promoting my services to your friends and family members, my practice is thriving! 

As this year ends I feel thankful. At the same time I look ahead to the new year and many ideas I wish to implement. But before I do anything else, I will be taking off to Poland for the Christmas Holidays to be with my family and to immerse myself into the relationships and the environment of my childhood. I am packing my balms and oils and the Winter Spice Numi Tea.  I am sure some serious pondering will happen over the cup while in my mom's flat in Warsaw. 

I wish you an amazing Holiday Season! Have lots of fun and keep safe wherever you go!
I hope the New Year will bring lots of love, peace and prosperity to all.

Magdalena

Woman Divine and my beloved oils featured in the Ottawa Citizen

Woman Divine's Magdalena Tomczak unveils the power of oil

JANET WILSON
More from Janet Wilson

Published on: November 5, 2014 / Last Updated: November 6, 2014 4:26 PM EST

Magdalena Tomczak, owner of Woman Divine, makes her own skincare line depending on the person's skin type. Jean Levac / Ottawa Citizen

Magdalena Tomczak, owner of Woman Divine, makes her own skincare line depending on the person's skin type.

Jean Levac / Ottawa Citizen

Magdalena Tomczak looks intently at my face, scanning for blemishes while running her fingertips across my cheekbones and forehead. I nod when she asks whether I have a headache.

“I can see it on your face, the stress around your eyes,” says the holistic skin therapist and aromatherapist. “For each client, I make an individual blend from my staples based on what is appropriate, based on your skin on any given day.”

Tomczak plucks ingredients — her handmade concoctions in pretty glass bottles of varying sizes — from a nearby counter to use in my face massage. She is a master at judging skin types and curtailing the treatment to fix any issue.

“Vegetable oils and essential oils are very effective skin remedies and form the base of the majority of organic skincare products you find on the market today.

“They definitely are indispensable in my practice,” says Tomczak, whose welcoming Westboro spa is called Woman Divine (womandivine.ca)

As the cold weather sets in, I’m here to get a lesson on oils.

Growing up in Poland, Tomczak says it was not uncommon for her mother to get monthly half-hour face massages.

“Sadly, training in North America focuses more on product application than massage.”

“It is an old European remedy for aging skin and has played a prominent role in the Eastern practice of Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Face massage is the No. 1 aging preventative technique,” she says.

Nutrient-rich oils provide a pleasing lubrication during a face massage and hydration for those with dry skin.

Tomczak says massage helps to carry the oils with all of their benefits deep into the skin. With so many skincare products to choose from, she recommends you keep it simple and purchase only quality products or even make your own.

“It is good to get creams from someone who knows what they are doing. Base oil on its own is a great way to start and has plenty to offer. If you want to make your own concoction for every teaspoon of vegetable oil, only add a few drops of essential oil.”

In recent years, argan oil has been hailed as liquid gold and a miracle cure for a host of skin conditions. It has also spelled big business for the beauty industry. Rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, pure argan oil (harvested from the nut of an argania spinosa tree) was used by Moroccan women to hydrate their skin and to fight the effects of the relentless desert sun. It is said to reduce inflammation, minimize wrinkles and treat acne.

Tomczak began practising holistic skincare in 1996 and opened her business in 2008, merging her background in massage therapy, aromatherapy, herbal medicine and nutrition.

For my treatment, she used a gentle blend of “solar-infused” chamomile flowers in jojoba oil with a touch of argan oil to treat my slightly sensitive skin.

She explained that her flower concoction was made over a period of eight weeks with exposure to the sun and moonlight and stirred daily.

“Chamomile is soothing for both the skin and the nervous system. Since you have mentioned you were stressed, I felt this would be a nice one to use. The chamomile flowers I used are from a local organic herb grower and a lovely lady — Judy of Judy’s Organic Herbs. Both the jojoba and argan oils are organic cold-pressed and unrefined, keeping things simple, effective and beautiful.

“A lot of love goes into making infusions like this one.”

Before purchasing essential oils, Tomczak recommends checking labels for the Latin name and meaning and choosing oils made from organic or wild-crafted plants.

“There are often many species of the same plant. Oils produced from each species are different in their biochemical composition, which determines the healing properties of each oil.”

One of her favourite ingredients is organic sunflower oil from Les Huiles d’Amérique, a farm outside of Montreal.

“I use this oil in my treatments and in few of my formulas. It is one of the ingredients in my face balm. I also use it in my kitchen. It is very tasty.”

Another item she says everyone should own is a silk pillow, which keeps the face fresh and aids in your sleep. “Cotton tugs and sucks the moisture from the delicate skin on your face and neck.

“When you think of the health of your skin, remember that your body has basic needs: good food, sleep, fresh air and exercise. We need to be kind to ourselves.”

THE ART OF OILS WORKSHOP

What: Magdalena Tomczak explores oils and shows how to select the ones that are right for you.
When & where: Dec. 1, 6 p.m. / Woman Divine, 351 Churchill Ave. N.
Price: $20

613-216-7676 or email info@womandivine.ca

Magdalena Tomczak offers custom-tailored essential and vegetable oil formulas designed for the face, body, hair, feet, hands or bath. Jean Levac / Ottawa Citizen

Magdalena Tomczak offers custom-tailored essential and vegetable oil formulas designed for the face, body, hair, feet, hands or bath.

Jean Levac / Ottawa Citizen

Oils

1. Vegetable oil

Yes, you could cook with it. Oils pressed from unrefined and organic seeds and nuts, such as argan, sunflower and camellia, have been used on the skin around the world for centuries and have been picking up steam in North America over the past decade. “Oil is full of vitamins A, E, D and K as well as essential fatty acids.”

2. Essential oils

Known as the most concentrated form of herbal medicine, essential oils are produced by the process of distillation to get the essence of the plants. Essential oils offer impressive healing possibilities in skincare in balancing, regenerating, astringent, antiseptic and soothing action and protection of the skin, Tomczak says. “Some of the most lovely oils for the skin and for skin-cell regeneration are carrot oil and frankincense.”

Oils & skin types

DRY SKIN

Base oil: 
Rose hip, argan

Essential oil: 
Carrot seed, rosewood

COMBO SKIN (dry and oily)

Base oil: 
Sunflower, jojoba, camilla

Essential oil: 
Chamomile, ylang ylang

OILY SKIN

Base oil: 
Grape seed oil, jojoba

Essential oil: 
Lavender, rosemary

Face Yoga & the practice of mindful beauty workshop

Your face is magic... complex and dynamic, it tells your story, communicates your emotions and connects you to the world around you.

Its beauty runs way deeper than ‘perfect’ features and the care it requires is different from that of the latest cream.

Your face is asking you to pay attention.

The Face Yoga workshop is an innovative offering to teach you how to lovingly, confidently and with purpose care for yourself by harnessing the wisdom of your face.

No need ever again to fall for the ‘latest and bestest’ in skin care. No need to feel intimidated or to attempt to fit into the existing model of beauty.

The Face Yoga workshop will give you tools to practice beauty mindfully according to your very personal needs.

It will empower, inspire and motivate you to love your face, claim your beauty and to wear it with grace and confidence.

The creator of Face Yoga workshop:

Magdalena Tomczak is a holistic skin care therapist and owner of Woman Divine.

Magdalena’s busy practice spans over 20 years and it focuses solely on the treatments for the face. In her work Magdalena draws on an eclectic background in massage therapy, nutrition, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and a great love for Eastern health and beauty practices, Ayurveda in particular.