Chaga: The Best Natural DIY Self-Tan

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:

  1. Immune system support
  2. Soothing properties
  3. Gastrointestinal and ulcer support
  4. Blood pressure and cholesterol normalizing
  5. Anti-microbial
  6. DNA damage protection
  7. Anti-viral

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

 

Sunday Crafternoon: Crystal Hairpins and Healing with Goldirocks!

7U6A8956Hi dears! This is a followup from one of my very first posts, which was a DIY crystal hair pin tutorial. This time, the glue gun takes over, and the crystals are much bigger!

Crystals are powerful, healing and royal, and I love the idea of wearing them in a braid, where they can impart their healing energy, protection and wisdom to us all day long!

Precious stones have been a source of inspiration for me as long as I can remember, perplexing me with the grandness of their design and color and inspiring a true sense of awe in the natural world.

spirit quartz amethyst( all rock shots are from Goldirocks Instagram)

I am on a journey to know more about crystal properties and share the knowledge that I learn, so I reached out to Yulia from Goldirocks, our favorite magic crystal slinger who cleanses and charges all of her rocks under that California Moon, ( Sign up here to be notified when the launches her online shop!) and DEFINITELY follow her on Instagram for inspiration. Smoky Quartz

Before we begin our DIY Project, here is a little thoughtful crystal knowledge.


Crystal Properties

amethyst

Here is some info on our favorite crystals:

(Crystal text and images copyright Goldirocks)

Amethyst: The crystal of transformation, creates a violet bubble of protective and transformative light around your. Clears negative and addictive emotional patterns and energies. Helps you make choices to serve your highest good.

Clear Quartz: Holds the full spectrum of the rainbow within, amplifying the effects of other crystals. Creates a clear channel with the higher consiousness.

Smoky Quartz: Helps you connect with and feel at peace in your physical body. Connects you with the magical realms of earth, animal and stone.

Angel Aura Quartz: Clear quartz which has been fused with precious metals, making it look as though it has been dipped in a rainbow. Holds a sparkling, lighthearted energy. Connects you to your inner child and sense of play.Goldirocks

Cleansing and Charging:

To cleanse your stones, regularly lay them out overnight in the moonlight to cleanse and recharge. A few hours in sunlight will recharge them after a particularly potent healing session.

Hold your crystals in your left hand, close your eyes and take three deep grounding breaths. Visualize a stream of white-gold light rising from the core of the earth, moving through your body and into your crystal.

Speak: Now release all energies which are not of this time and place, and which no longer serve the highest good. You are cleansed and cleared in light and love.clear quartz

Now place crystal in the sunlight or the moonlight for at least 4 hours. Take care to not charge them in any place to hot or intense, as it will fade their color.

Charging them under the full or new moon is especially potent!

So babes, find the crystals that call to you, charge them up and get ready to wear them in your hair, infusing your crown chakra with super crystal power.


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Today’s DIY is as simple as this: Crystals, glue gun, and hair pins/ clips.

For this project I used an Amethyst point, Smokey Quartz point, an Angel Aura Quartz Point and a Clear Quartz point. I encourage you all to find the crystals that call to you, and learn a bit about their properties to deepen and enrich the experience of wearing jewels on your crown with the power of intention.

And most importantly, get creative!……..anything is possible when you have a glue gun.


Crystal Pins, DIY

7U6A8629 (1)Depending on the shape of the crystal you will want to use different pins, glued in different ways. Decide which clips go with which crystals. Consider where and how you want them to be worn, whether you want them to slide across the hair like a barrette, or be pinned directly down into a bun.

Lay out your pins and your crystals.

Plug in your Glue Gun and let it heat up.

Apply glue directly to the crystal, the length of the pin. Set the pin directly into the glue, holding it there firmly as the glue dries.

Add more glue around the pin if their are areas that need more reinforcement.

*Here is the thing to consider……..Because crystal points don’t have a porous surface in most cases, once the crystals are glued on, you will need to handle them gently so that they don’t slide out of the glue.7U6A9052

Encrust your braids with jewels any time you need a little power boost or pick me up. Remember that queens wear jewels in their crowns for a reason;)

For braid inspiration for your crystal pins, check out our Fierce Braids category.

xo, HTHG and Goldirocks

 

Foil Setting Texture Trick!

IMG_0702Hey babes. I have a challenge for you. Grab a friend, some aluminum foil and a flat iron and play around with wadding up foil in different ways, wrapping hair around it, clamping it with a flatiron, allowing it to cool, and taking the foil out. It is super fun!

IMG_0704IMG_0718IMG_0693IMG_0696For this experiment, I made long, thin foil rods with my hands and basically doing a rag curl set with foil rods and heat. The results were just wonderful.

Have fun, and post your photos and tag me!

xo, HTHG

Rosehip Garland and Hair Pins, DIY

The Meditation of Foraging

7U6A1782Foraging is something that we have talked about quite a bit this year at HTHG. I hope I am not repeating myself by saying that I love foraging and here is why:

My rosehip forage for this DIY project started like this: I take a little jog, most mornings of the week. By little, I mean like 15 minutes or so. Just enough to help me wake up and get my blood flowing. Usually, I walk Marley to school and then just take off from there, around the neighborhood.

I knew I wanted to find rosehips, so as I jogged one morning, I turned my awareness to rosehips. I visualized them as I jogged, and before long they began to pop out at me all over the place. I took mental notes of where they were, knowing I would be back soon with a basket.

The next day, I brought along my basket and returned to the rosehip bushes I had discovered the day before. I wandered the neighborhood, taking several hips for each bush as I passed, feeling like I was greeting an old friend each time I passed a rosebush, thanking the plant for each rosehip I harvested.

Foraging helps me to write a map of plants in my head, connecting me to the web of nature. Harvesting helps me engage with each plant on my journey, solidifying the place of each plant on my mental map. Creating with the plants themselves helps me to understand and honor each plant in a deeper way, witnessing the unique likeness and differences in plants, and interacting with them. This relationship, for me, is my spiritual practice. It is a great source of connection and gratitude. Which is why I am sharing this fun DIY craft tutorial with you:)

The Beauty of Rosehips

7U6A1655My step-mother Barb loved flower buds more than flowers themselves. She liked how they were sweet and small and unassuming but held the entire knowledge and being of the entire future blossom……A beautiful secret, well-gaurded, and vibrating with life.

7U6A1648Rosehips, besides being a powerfully medicinal part of the rose plant, hold the secret of the future Rose, the most sacred and highly-vibrational flower on the planet. With this sweet little secret, we create a garland to adorn ourselves today so that we, too, can vibrate with our own sweet life-force, guarding our truths with our lives, sharing them only when we feel ready.

DIY Rosehip Garland

7U6A1607For this DIY, you will need a bowl of assorted rosehip plants, thick thread or fishing wire, a needle, pliers and scissors or snippers, and some hair pins.7U6A1618

Begin by rinsing your rosehips, and trimming their stems and petals. Arrange them into piles by size, if you want your garland to have any particular order. If not, that is okay too! I did mine starting small, getting large towards the center, and getting small again at the other end. 7U6A1620

Thread your needle, doubling your thread nice and long ( 3 feet or so) and knotting the end. Begin to thread your rosehips on the needle, one at a time through the center. They may be tough to get through, and if they are, use your pliers to help work the needle through and pull it out the other side.7U6A1624

Continue threading rosehips until your garland is as long as you want it. I made mine long enough to wrap twice around my head snuggly so it could be worn as a crown, a necklace, or as a decorative circle. Tie the ends of your garland tightly together in a triple knot to secure the rosehips.

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Create your hairpins by poking one end of a pin through the center and hooking both ends out the bottom of a rosehip.7U6A1745

Use them to decorate a braid! Keep your creations in a cool, dry place and enjoy the changing variation of color and texture as the rosehips dry out.

 

Ceremonial Head Wrap Tutorial

Hi honeys. I recently had the absolute luxury of an entire day to myself, in my house, cleaning done and chores cast to the side……….And a little project that had been burning a whole through my mind for over a year.

I made myself a nice cup of coffee, and I put on the news radio with the intention of catching up on some world news. I got out my fabric……….Huge swaths of linen, cotton gauze, and bamboo, and I began cutting. 4 inch strips, 9 feet long. I cut and cut until my hands ached and the blades of my scissors gnawed and hacked. Cutting things is my happy place.

100 strips later, with a gigantic pile of fabric strips and fabric lint on my living room floor, my head filled with the awfulness of war and ignorance, I turned off the radio, sneezed, and made the assertion that running these fabric strips through the wash was the right choice. Why? Because it seemed like the right thing to do.

While the strips laundered, I prepared a bucket of Indigo Dye in my back yard. I picked some veggies and weeds from the garden and juiced them, and put on some old country music.IMG_6602

When the washing machine beeped, I eagerly lifted the lid. Inside was a dreadlock of fibers and fabric. I lifted it out in a large clump. I thought to myself ‘this is going to be a long day.’

I spent the next 3 hours untangling the mess, strip by strip. I practiced breathing and having good posture while I worked, a difficult practice considering that a large part of myself felt absolutely tortured by my own stupidity for not washing the fabric before cutting it into strips! and I just kind of wanted to melt into nonexistence.

Something that the last year has really taught me, though, is that wasted time and energy is only wasted if a lesson is not learned. I thought about that, and felt better. This is a part of the process, and it is part of what will make the next time even better. I think it’s important to be kind to ourselves especially when trying new things. Needless to say, I talked myself down from the ledge with this little affirmation…….Take the lesson, enjoy the process, keep going. The Ceremony of Pushing Through!

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 12.55.49 PMOnce I had untangled the worlds larges fabric dreadlock, took off my shoes and went back outside where I proceeded to I dye the strips in all different ways, some I double dipped to darken them, some I krinkled up and rubber-banded and dipped in the dye bath, some I twisted into knots and dipped, and some I dipped so that they would be more gradient, like an ombre. My hands were denim blue by the end of  it, and I had blue splatters all over my feet, arms, and face. I was surrounded by 100 blue dyed strips which hung from my clothes line, gently fluttering in the wind.

After the strips dried, I braided them, twisted them, and crocheted them into long ropes and shorter bands, with the intention of adorning peoples hair and heads in a a multitude of creative and meaningful ways.

IMG_6706When I finished with the fabric, I used the last of my dye on some vintage paper roses, dipping them in one at a time and setting them in the sun……For future Blue Rose Power Crowns.IMG_7616

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the day, I had 25 beautiful unique head wraps, each with it’s own personality. Two of my favorites were simple, ombre-dyed strips of linen which I had knotted every few inches from one end to the other…..They seemed the perfect ones for my daughters Marley and Selah.

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Mars was kind enough to let me shoot a quick little tutorial of a lovely way to wear a head wrap such as this one.

 Head Wrap Twisted Hairstylemarstar

We began by wrapping her head with the knotted strip, it banded around twice. I wound the ends of the strip around the band a few times to secure the wrap.

Then, starting on one side, twist a small section of hair, and wind it around the bands, tucking it securly in and around the headwrap. Take another small section of hair next to the first one and repeat.

Now do the same thing, starting from the other side. Work your way towards the center, twisting winding and tucking in hair around your bands.

Lovely!

 

 

Over the next few months, I will be posting more ways that one can wear these hand-made beauties.

These headwraps were made with the intention of helping us find more ceremony in the small details of our daily lives, with more intention setting in our self care routine, and homage paid towards the power of adornment.

These head wraps are now available in the HTHG shop! Get yours today and let it help you ground, connect, and channel your creativity.

Made with love and light!

xo, HTHG

 

 

 

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