Beauty comes from the inside out, and we can all appreciate the feeling that we get when the sun kisses our skin, regardless of how we look in comparison to anyone else’s standards of “Beautiful Skin”
I feel the need to make this clear.
Friends, far and wide. I am not a tan obsessed, skin color judging person. This is a post that I sort of stumbled upon without really meaning to, as a woman who doesn’t use self-tanner and doesn’t really ever think about my own skin color unless it is within the context of trying to better understand my own social priveledge based on it, with the intention of better understanding my responsibility to my sisters and brothers of all skin colors because of my general pasty whiteness and because of the history of our culture. This is a whole other conversation that I am very glad is happening.
Today, though, the focus of this post is on the magic of a CHAGA. And how we can use it to bring a golden glow to any skin color. This experiment came from a long, dark, rainy winter…..The rainiest and darkest in the history of my lifetime in the Pacific Northwest…….A winter so brutally dark, that we all became sad, cold, pasty ghosts of ourselves and taking hot baths with herbs in them was MY only remedy for insanity.
I came out of this Winter so thirsty for sun on my skin and body and in my eyes and in my hair, that it hurt like a physical injury. Then, one day, in early April around the New Moon, on an intuitive whim I brewed up some really dark Chaga tea, poured it into my bath and soaked in it. I stepped out of the bath a golden glowing version of my ghostly self, and took note of it. My skin felt incredible and sun kissed for weeks and it really boosted my mood. My friends commented on my great tan, wondering how the hell?
I began to experiment. Today, I share the fruits of my experimental Chaga tanning. But first, dears, here is a bit about what Chaga is……..Because many of you may be asking by now. But likely many of you already have discovered this incredible medicinal mycelial magic. If so, skip ahead to the DIY. If not, read on for Chaga info.
What is Chaga?
Chaga has been consumed for centuries in the East, most typically as tea, where its health benefits are well established. More recently, chaga has been gaining popularity in the West, where its numerous health benefits are now being recognized by many health gurus. Technically, chaga is a highly-concentrated black mass of mycelium that protrudes from birch trees infected with parasitic–but non-toxic–fungus Inonotus Obliquus. The dark, hard and cracked exterior, which often appears like burnt charcoal, is called the sclerotium. The interior has a rusty yellow brown color.
How is Chaga used Medicinally?
The health benefits of Chaga are numerous, many of which can be attributed to its immune-boosting ingredients and antioxidants.
The top 7 health benefits of consuming Chaga are:
- Immune system support
- Soothing properties
- Gastrointestinal and ulcer support
- Blood pressure and cholesterol normalizing
- DNA damage protection
Thanks to Global Healing Center for sharing this information. Please find more in-depth Chaga wisdom here.
Chaga is easily made into tea which can be sipped daily ( I mix Chaga tea into my cold-brew) It is completely odorless and flavorless, and freakishly shelf stable. It can live seemingly forever in a jar, sitting on your counter waiting to be added to anything you want. I always have a jar of it around, and gawk at it regularly for it’s incredibly beautiful, rich dark color.
Why use Chaga as a self-tanner?
For one thing, Chaga is found to be incredible for your skin…..AND, it is filled with Melanin, which we all know, is what gives our skin color.
Many of chaga’s active constituents can help to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. Of greatest notability is the presence of melanin in chaga tea. Melanin is the pigment that provides color to your skin, and provides a shield against harmful UV rays. Producing this pigment internally is difficult, as it requires a number of very specific nutrients.
Because chaga can provide this pigment naturally, it is therefore a very valuable natural resource for protecting against sunburn and giving your skin that healthy golden sheen. Chaga tea also helps by promoting good circulation, alleviating inflammation and helping to combat infection, all of which can reduce the occurrence of skin problems.
DIY Chaga Skin Tonic Self-Tanner Recipe
There are several ways to use Chaga as a self-tanner/Skin tonic. You will need raw Chaga which you can get here on Amazon, or consult your local apothecary or plant witch and they can likely help you find it from a more direct source.
You will begin by steeping a nice, dark Chaga tea. Do this by crushing the Chaga into pieces about the size of a large marble and smaller. It is quite hard and crusty and difficult to cut through, so try whacking it with a mallet or putting it into an herb/coffee grinder to break it up a bit. Put it in a sauce pan, and cover it with water (Spring water if you can.)
Turn the stove on and bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for a half an hour or so. It will reduce a bit, and get really dark and lovely. When the tea looks about like espresso, turn it off and let it cool. Strain out the tea into a jar.
You can then use this same batch of Chaga to make up to 10 more batches of tea. It just keeps giving and giving and giving. So don’t compost it yet!
Now that you have your tea made, you can tan with it many ways: I have used these 3 methods, each time with great results and a golden tan that lasts.
Method 1. Dump tea into a bath and soak in it, the more tea the better. Soak half an hour or more, than step out of the bath, towel off, and admire the feeling of sunshine on your skin. Add your favorite flowers too, just for fun.
Method 2. Funnel it into a spray bottle, and spray it liberally all over your body and rub it in. Let it air dry, and voila! Golden, toned, happy skin.
Method 3. Mix it with water-based lotion and apply it all over your body. I personally felt like this was the most effective way I used it. You can either mix it in a bowl, or add the tea directly to a half-empty bottle of lotion, shake it up really well for a couple minutes, and use it that way.
Again, it is very shelf stable so you can keep using it as you desire, you will get more and more golden with each application. And the beautiful part of it is that it works with your unique skin tone to make the YOU version of tan skin, instead of an out-of-the-bottle orange that doesn’t fool anyone. And it isn’t a stain like other self-tanners including black-tea-tan. It is a true blue tan that lives in your skin. This is what I experienced.
These three methods will bring you beautifully toned and golden skin, protection from the elements and a great solution if you need to build up a base-tan and skin resilience. It can be used on any and all skin types and colors.
I highly recommend sipping the tea while you are using the tea topically, for best results. Get that melanin from the inside out. I hope it brings you some sunshine.
Try it, and let me know what you think!
xo, Kitchen Beauty Witch