Sowing My Wild Oats (Emma’s Story)
Skip the first 6 paragraphs if you just want to learn how and why to use our herbal grain cleanser…
In 2001 I had left a salesgirl job with a “natural” skin care line at the mall and accepted a job in the South of France, which then led to four months of living on an island there learning the art of essential oil/hydrosol distillation. While there, I was introduced to a unique method of face massage (Dien Chan) which led me on a journey that got me my aesthetician license in NYC and an amazing position at a well-established Chinese Medicine-based spa. The long, packed hours and high expectations of me were exactly what I needed to get ample experience to set out on my own and I am grateful for this every day, but I was completely depleted and struggling to feel well.
One of my Wise Women mentors introduced me to Oat. She had me take one ounce of the grass and the milky tops of the oats and steep it overnight in a quart of water and drink it everyday for three weeks. She taught me to cook my oatmeal before bedtime, adding a handful or raisins or some cut up prunes or figs and bringing it to a boil for a couple minutes before taking it off the flame, sprinkling in some spices (salt, pepper, turmeric and cinnamon) and then adding a dollop of full fat yogurt or even butter before letting it sit out overnight. It was basically against everything I had ever been taught about what was healthy and I was fearful I would die of botulism, heart disease and calories, but I was ready to give up these ideas to work towards nourishment and real healing from within.
By the end of the month, the arthritis that I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to have had left me and my IBS symptoms had seriously subsided. I had energy and my brain fog was starting to clear. I was slowly introduced to some other herbs: Blue Violet, Plantain, Red Clover Blossoms! The wise women in my life gently helped me rediscover that self-care is about nourishment and getting the basic needs met first, before superfoods and cleansing. They reminded me that hedonistic “pampering” just feels empty in the long run, while boring old heuristic self-care fills every cell with an authentic feeling of wellness that can’t be bought or sold.
In June of 2006, after almost a decade of studying herbalism and facial reflexology, working in skincare, and practicing the fine art of holistic self-care, I was met with a problem. I was ready to create a private practice that included providing my clients with herbal-based skin care products that did not interrupt the skin’s barrier, integrity or biome and had no artificial chemicals or preservatives, but actually provided the results I was looking for in a supportive (non-controlling) manner. Of course, such a thing either didn’t exist or (at the very least) wasn’t available to me.
Recognizing where my western background had failed me, but not prepared to go into a TCM or Aryruvedic career (and not feeling comfortable considering myself a “practitioner” in either modality despite the fact that I had worked in the field for many years) I had to accept my calling to yolk the teachings of my elders together with the resources I have available to me at this particular time and place, for the benefit of the people who are in need of it today!
Sow Your Wild Oats was the first product that I developed with all of my theories and philosophies close at hand. And, after 2 years of sending samples and directions home with my clients (who, thankfully, trusted me!) I came to this balanced formulation: powerful, yet gentle. Active, without too many contradicting, confusing messages. A good mix of what healthy skin needs to stay vibrant and what disordered skin needs in order to start heading towards health.
Sow Your Wild Oats Organic Grain Cleanser
Our Organic Grain Cleanser, Sow Your Wild Oats (SYWO), combines colloidal preparations of oats, legumes, milk and herbs to form a gentle, cleansing and exfoliating facial wash. It relies on both the physical nature as well as the actions of the plant matter to gently remove layers of dead skin and intra-cellular debris, help your skin improve its ability to function as an organ of elimination, and encourage the skin to rebuild with more resilience.
Characteristics of Sow Your Wild Oats:
- Powerful enough to reap benefits with use 1-2x’s week
- Gentle enough for daily use
- Except on sensitized skin: build your way in by starting with once a week
- It’s a good idea to give your skin a break from most types of cleansing at least once a week. (You could choose to do a clay mask, or an herbal tea facial bath, or something else—the skin likes it when we give it nourishment consistently, but switch up the cleansing routines.)
Great for those who experience:
- Enlarged or clogged pores
- Blackheads and milia (use with NO EVIL!)
- Hardened, impacted Stress Bumps and The Ghosts of Pimples Past
- Post-inflammation hyper-pigmentation
- Thick skin/environmental damage
- No problems necessary to enjoy and see good results with this product!
And May Be Looking For:
- Exfoliation: Removal of dead skin cells and intercellular debris so that other products may penetrate better
- A post-cleanser for the double-cleansing method with no artificial chemicals or preservatives
- A lovely weekly skincare ritual
When to Grain Cleanse: 3-6 times/week
The “Best Way” to Prepare and Use Sow Your Wild Oats (Functional Use)
Put 1 tsp into a bowl and mix in 1 tsp very hot water. Allow to set for 1 minute before applying to the skin. “Scrub” gently with your fingertips and remove with a warm, wet washcloth or leave on for about 10 minutes, keeping it damp with a wet towel and massaging before removing with the towel. May be used on its own or after oil cleansing.
If you have never used it this way (even if you have loved it for years…) try it. You will be surprised how awesome it can be prepared in this simple way. This is the most intense way to get the “actions” of the herbs.
If you would like to support your skin’s cellular communication function in order to make the skin less reactive long-term, mist 6-12 pumps of your favorite Mineral Mist over the skin before application. Remember that if you are low in certain minerals, it WILL tingle. This is not a bad thing, just a slightly uncomfortable thing.
If you experience congestion due to dehydration (results in comedones such as blackheads and milia) use Sow Your Wild Oats along with Oil Cleansing.
How to Grain Cleanse
Double Cleanse: Nighttime use, best for when wearing makeup
- Oil cleanse with 6-10 drops of NO EVIL, Cow Fart Juice, or Seeds of Change then follow with the Functional Use.
Instant Moisture Cleanser: Nighttime use, best for sweaty days and after sunblock
- Mix 1 tsp SYWO + 1 tsp hot water as described in the functional usage
- Add 4-8 drops NO EVIL, Cow Fart Juice, or Seeds of Change directly into the SYWO.
- Apply evenly to face and massage with your warm, wet fingertips
- Use a warm, wet washcloth to remove
Scrub: Least powerful “herbal actions” and most intense physical exfoliation
- Shake or measure out a flat quarter-size pile (1tsp) into the palm of your hand.
- Add a little warm water (1tsp) and mix with fingertips.
- Count 4-10 Drops of NO EVIL, Cow Fart Juice, or Seeds of Change into the SYWO.
- Apply evenly to face and massage well.
- Remove with a warm, damp cloth.
Weekly exfoliating masks add value to your skin care regimen. When you are getting all of your basic needs met and then give one added “boost” the body responds by functioning better!
Our Sow Your Wild Oats Cleansing grains, when made into a weekly exfoliating mask, have the added benefit of further breaking down the cell walls of each individual herb. This increases the power of the “action” of the herbs as well as provides a more intense exfoliation due to the naturally present salicylic acid in organic and wildcrafted herbs.
When to Mask: Once per week is sufficient and too much may be irritating. If the skin is not sensitized, 2 times per week is appropriate if there are drastic changes that need to made—and then once per week.
Recipes for Weekly Ritual Masks
Leave mask on for about 10 minutes and remove with a warm, wet cloth.
***When using herbal infusions/tea, make it strong and let it steep for 5 minutes, the add to oats and allow to cool to just above warm before applying.
As Part of Your Morning Facial Bathing Ritual
Facial Bathing is a Between You & The Moon/Brooklyn Herborium Specialty. We recommend using water as the main base for cleansing because it flushes out the metabolic wastes that the skin produces during the night. We do not recommend oil cleansing in the morning.
Using Sow Your Wild Oats For Your Facial Bath
- Measure 1 tsp Sow Your Wild Oats into a shallow basin (a bowl or your clean, plugged sink will do)
- Add 1/2 cup very, very hot (even boiling is OK) water and let sit for 1 minute, gently stirring
- Fill the rest of the basin with about 1 more quart of warm water to make a comfortable bath
- Fill your cupped palms with this water and gently put your face in the water for a moment-like a slow splash!
- Let the water go and do it again…and again…and a few more times
- You may take a towel or large washcloth and make an herbal compression with it by folding it and dipping it into the water and then gently pressing it to the skin
- When you are done, splash with cool water and gently pat dry
- Follow with your Moisture Duo
Holistic Assessment of Sow Your Wild Oats
Supports Metabolic Function, Supports Structural Integrity
Functional Usage of Oats:
- Saponification of oil: helps make impacted oils “soapy” so they slide right out
- Soothing, anti-itch
Functional Usage of Legumes:
- Liposomes are a natural component of many members of the legume family that coax the semi-permeable cells of the outer skin to allow more of phytonutrients in.
Functional Usage of Milk Powder:
- Lactic acid from the milk provides a small amount of alpha-hydroxy acid exfoliation.
Functional Usage of Our Blend of 10 Herbs:
- Organic Herbs (with an innate beta-hydroxy acid content) remove the outer dead cells to help prevent clogged pores
- These traditional herbs have been chosen because they give the body messages to encourage new cells to reinvent themselves as a younger, healthier version along with their skin-healing, anti-inflammatory, and microbial management actions.
Functional Usage of Our Method:
The physical nature of the plants, as well as the actions of the plant matter gently remove layers of dead skin and intra-cellular debris, help the skin improve its ability to function as an organ of elimination, and encourage the skin to rebuild with more resilience.
Transitional Usage of Our Method:
Adding one of our Supportive Skin Care Oils before hydrating the grains with water adds to the silky texture of the final mixture and allows the grains to pull out any oil-based debris and oxidized oil.
The Science of Oats
Oats have been well studied and approved by the scientific community.
- Reducing inflammation and soothing itchiness: A 2008 study published in the Archives of Dermatological Research examined oats in relation to the skin. Researchers found that the phytochemicals and avenanthramides in oats reduced inflammation and scratching and concluded that oats contain active ingredients that soothe the skin by reducing irritants. A 2010 review in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology stated that oats are effective in treating psoriasis, dermatitis and rashes.
- Helping a compromised barrier to heal: Oats contain polysaccharides, which become gooey in water and make fine, protective barrier that protects the skin’s own barrier as it heals.
- Building Moisture: Oats contain a silky, lubricating compound that soothes the upper layers of the epidermis without giving the skin the message to produce less of its own oil.
- Providing Defense: Proteins in oats can help the skin maintain a strong yet flexible structural integrity which is crucial for it to act as the body’s first line of defense.
- Pore Cleansing: Oats create natural cleansing agents called saponins that gently release oxidized oil and remove dirt from the pores.
Leaves, flowers and seeds have been specially chosen and properly prepared for us to make the best use of their unique properties.
- The leaves of Gotu Kola, Plantago, Blue Violet, and Neem strengthen the structural integrity of the skin’s matrix (helping it to become sturdy and flexible) while managing the microorganisms that reside there.
- The flowers impart direct, courteous messages to the cells: Elder says to clear away dark spots and stagnation, calendula is protective, rosebuds remind the systems to stop, cool down, breathe, and return to love, chickweed moistens the cells and tells the skin to stay juicy, while yarrow is the general in our protective army-telling the cells to straighten up and look ahead, there may be danger!
- The coriander seeds we use give a gentle antioxidant nudge to the immune system, making it slightly nervous and slightly excited so that the body responds by letting go of the old and allowing for renewal.
Full Ingredients: Organic Gluten-free Oats, Organic Garbanzo Bean, Organic Fava Bean, Cultured Dry Milk (Lactose), Organic Elder Flowers, Organic Gotu Kola Leaf, Organic Plantago, Organic Rosebuds, Organic Chickweed, Organic Yarrow Flowers, Organic Calendula Flowers, Organic Blue Violet Leaf, Organic Neem Leaf, Organic Coriander Seed, (vegan version does not contain Dry Milk)
And for the body we offer Soak Your Wild Oats: Try it directly in your bath (it will dissolve fully) or put about 1 tbsp Soak Your Wild Oats in some cheese cloth and tie it up to make a small bag. Put this in your bathtub along with hot water. Press the bag a bit until the oatmeal “milk” comes out. You can also use this bag instead of soap on your body. It will give a light scrubbing and cleanse your skin.
Sometimes we need a little more to get the dirt and grime off our skin. For this, we have created Soap Your Wild Oats, a French-milled bar soap made with saponified olive oil. It is too strong for daily use on the face, but can be used intermittently when there is an actual need for removing dirt (gardening with toddlers) and maple syrup. Use it regularly to keep the body fresh and free from odors, but be sure to keep it in a special dish because it will disintegrate if you let it sit in water.