With great reason environmental issues are a hot topic and consumers are getting more and more aware and interested for productions footprint, carbon emissions, global warming, plastic productions and the list goes on. With that, companies are more conscious about the market demand for “green” products and some have adopted a deceptive business strategy, in which green PR or green marketing is used to promote the perception that their products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly, the so called “Greenwashing”.Read More
Known to "gladden the heart", this oil is great for our soul, body and skin. Extracted from the 'Borago officinalis' seeds, Borage Oil has the highest levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) found in nature. This fatty acid that works as a powerful anti-inflammatory, great for all skin types, but specially for those with very sensitive skin or eczema.Read More
Shall we rewind a bit and define what makes a company cruelty-free? To sum up it is a company that does not run or require a third party (like suppliers) to run animal tests in any shape or form.
(Thankfully) Many companies are adopting a cruelty-free ethical philosophy on their productions. If not tested on animals, how are the tests conducted and are they enough to ensure safety?Read More
If you adopt a more natural skincare routine, or if you have sensitive skin, you may be familiarised with the various oils in the market. From essential oils like lavender and tea tree, to carrier oils like almond and grapeseed, and pressed oils like coconut.Read More
“Witches are no longer the stuff of fairy tales and gothic horror,” says Galway-based white witch Ruth Ruane, who harnesses power from her surroundings to live a richer life.
“It’s not about putting hexes or doing spells,” says the mother of seven, although she dabbled in that in her 20s, but rather living an enchanted life that honours nature.
Being in touch with nature is difficult in a modern world, she says, but not for her. She lives outside Galway city in a house at the top of a hill, with the bay visible from three sides and a big sky above. It is enchanting.
Everyone has his or her own magic but for it to be powerful, it has to be harnessed, she says, and it is knowing how to do that that will protect you and your home.
So how do your bring out your inner witch? Is a pointy hat, black garments, warts, a cat and broom all still part of the package?
Yes and no, says Ruane. She had a wart as a child but her mother, a herbalist, using worms from the garden somehow managed to make it fall off. She no longer keeps a cat but she does possess a broom and practises good housekeeping by sweeping to clear energies, something many cultures have done since time immemorial and a simple act that readers can practise at home. Read more
Macrocystis Pyriferae, or Kelp as it is more commonly known, is a species of seaweed that grows wild in many oceans around the world. We source our seaweed from Connemara. It is certified organic and is harvested from the unpolluted waters of the Atlantic Sea.
The seaweed is processed in Connemara using a drying method that ensures the nutritional value of the seaweed remains fully intact. Ruth drives to the processing plant to collect the end product herself. She looks forward to this each time as she says, “it’s not just like going into a run-of the-mill establishment. The staff who work there are locals and speak Irish. We have yet to go out there without being offered a cup of tea, a few biscuits and a chat. On the odd occasion that we can’t make the journey the staff have brought the seaweed to us with a heart in hand. When we drive down to the processing unit’s yard ourselves (after our cup of tea) one of the workers puts the freshly powdered seaweed in the boot of the car. 10 meters away from the door of the offices and the production unit is the sea, with the waves, the wind and sand, usually blowing a gale with lots of sea spray. It’s so refreshing.”
When we get the seaweed powder home, its so green and smells so fresh, we only add three ingredients before packing it for our customers. Many companies extract the active ingredients out of the seaweed but we like to use ours whole. We know that it’s safer that way but it’s also more ethical as there are no waste by products. We feel that nature has created the perfect skin care ingredient in seaweed, so why change it. The additional ingredients we put into our Nourishing Face Mask add some extra properties. For example: the green tea is toning and the mint and lemon balm add a lovely smell, as well as being cooling and stimulating to the skin.
Let’s look at the seaweed itself and why we use it. What is it made of that makes it such a perfect ingredient for helping our skin to glow with health.
We know it’s nutrient rich but let’s break it down.
The main constituents of kelp include phenolic compounds, mucopolysaccharides, algin, polar lipids, and glycosyl ester diglycerides. Kelp also contains protein, carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids .
Kelp contains approximately 30 minerals. It is a rich source of iodine, calcium, sulfur , and silicon. Other minerals include phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, copper, zinc, manganese , barium, boron, chromium , lithium, nickel, silver, titanium, vanadium , aluminum, strontium, bismuth, chlorine, cobalt, gallium, tin, and zirconium. Kelp also contains vitamins C, E, D, K, and B complex. The highest concentrations of these vitamins and minerals are found in the tissues of kelp.
All of this makes kelp stand out as an amazing skin food. But there is one component in seaweed which is not listed in the above. It is more important than all the rest when it comes to beautiful skin. The name of this component is: Hyaluronic acid. All seaweeds are a super source of this nutrient. It’s what gives seaweed it’s unique property of being able to hold on to water so well, it’s what makes seaweed slippery. Using seaweed on our skin makes our skin, not slippery, but it gives it an inner “plump and juicy” feeling and a healthy and moisturised appearance.
White Witch Nourishing Face Mask contains 66% pure Seaweed! It’s so safe and gentle too. It works wonders for skin that is red, dehydrated, damaged and in need of some serious TLC.
Cistus, Rockrose, Cistus Incanus
What is it: Rockrose or Cistus Incanus is a hardy perennial shrub that has pink paper-like flowers and light green leaves and stems that are slightly coated with a soft whitish down.
Where does it grow: It is native to high altitudes and grows wild in rocky regions of the Mediterranean. It will grow well in most soils but prefers stony poor soil. It can be easily cultivated in temperate climates.
Where can it be purchased: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sent a paypal invoice for €11 and receive 100 grams of the organic high quality loose herb, This makes about 20 - 40 infusions. That includes shipping to anywhere in the world. It is packaged in small brown paper parcels tied up with string as above. No plastic of course.
How does it work: Scientific research recently confirmed that Cistus leaf extractives have powerful antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and biofilm-breaking qualities (Rebensburg et al, 2015). The way in which it works against viruses is very special in that it prevents a virus working the way that it is designed to do, thereby rendering it harmless. Even viruses like HIV and Ebola. It is also useful in preventing and treating upper respiratory tract viruses and even secondary infections.
It also has shown amazing results with regards to detoxifying the body, improving gut health and even lowering cholesterol and improving dental and gum health.
However it is important to note that I am not selling the herb for health purposes, because I am not allowed to sell medicines. I am selling the herb as an amazing beauty treatment for topical use. The application of the cold herb on the skin has been proven to reduce blemishes, reduce the appearance of pores, as well as improving the elasticity and general condition of the skin.
Who will it help: It will help everyone and is suitable for all ages, but especially anyone who wishes to improve the health of their skin. It can be used many times daily for a long period of time without any adverse side effects.
Results are noticeable after one just use and the longer it is used the better the results, so the sooner the better.. Get into the habit of preparing a fresh brew everyday and when its cold apply to the skin as often as liked.
IDEA: Make a strong brew and use it in the bath.
St John’s Wort oil is an incredibly healing oil that is produced by infusing the St John’s Wort flowering plants in a carrier oil, such as sunflower or olive oil. A very curious thing happens during the process and that is the oil turns a beautiful ruby red colour even though neither the flower nor the plant is red. This red colour is due to the presence of high levels of tannins in the plant.
St John’s Worts scientific name is Hypericum Perforatum. The origin of the Greek name for the family, Hypericum, is uncertain. One version has it that it is derived from ’hyper eikon‘, meaning “exceeding any imagination” referencing the plant's super healing powers. But, it more likely refers to Helios (also sometimes known as Hyperion) who wears a crown of rays and is called ’the illustrious‘, very like the yellow flowers. The species name perforatum, meaning perforated, refers to the flowers and leaves, which look as if they have been perforated with needles.
St John’s Wort oil has been extensively researched in applications such as bioactive wound dressing materials to protect against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus and the oil incorporated films had antimicrobial effect on both microorganisms. In other research St John’s Wort oil has proven to be a simple-to-use and safe treatment option for scalp wounds even with exposed bone.
In her book 'Medicine of the Earth', Susanne Fischer-Rizzi, says of St John’s Wort: “From medieval days St John’s wort was thought to banish demons. Peasants hung it in the stables to protect livestock from sorcery and placed a small tuft in their chamber windows to keep evil spirits from entering. The plants power to undo spells resulted in names like 'chase the devil' and 'flight of the demons'. According to legend the Devil himself perforated the leaves of St John’s wort because he fretted about its healing power. However rather than perish the plant became a sure means of repelling evil spirits...”
Benefits of Copaiba are due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-tetanus, antiseptic and antihemorrhagic properties.Read More
There was once a heavenly white angel of Lavender. He wore robes as pure and as white as the driven snow.
He was a giant of an angel, with arms that could encircle the whole of the Earth in a single embrace.
His breath was the sweetest breath in heaven, and when he spoke, a soft sweet breeze would float through the meadows and towns and past the homes of the people of the Earth; everyone who breathed it would stand still in wonder with eyes closed.
Their hearts would open, and wherever they stood and wherever they were, the truth would come out of their mouths and they would not be able to contain it. So powerful was the white angel of Lavender.
Underneath the flowing robes of the white angel there was hiding the small delicate violet angel of Lavender. He was hiding because he was so innocent and vulnerable that even the lightest negative vibration would cause him to weep uncontrollably.
When the violet angel saw sadness or suffering, he would grieve, and tears would stream from his eyes and form rivers and floods. The tears would saturate the cloaks of the other angels and make their clothing heavy.
He had skin so soft that to the touch it felt as if it was not even there at all.
Every evening, as the sun set, the blue angel of Lavender would begin to sing. Her voice rang out and was heard all around the world. The birds in the trees and the beasts on the land would stop and listen.
Her voice made tears sprout from the eyes of everyone who heard it and lumps come to their throats and they could not understand why. Gradually night would fall and the sky would turn to darkness.
The stars in the heavens would hear the voice of the blue angel of Lavender and come closer to listen. The moon would rise over the mountaintops to get closer to her voice. The night that was once dark would suddenly be a twinkle of lights, and all through the hours, the blue angel of Lavender would hum her songs, lulling the world and all her children to sleep.
As the business name implies White Witch philosophy is to 'harm none' and 'do good'. A few years down the road with being plastic free, Ruth took beeswax, honey and propolis off the menu. As she said "we can't be stealing from our precious bee friends".Read More
This Vegan Society-registered company based in Connemara in the West of Ireland produces skincare in cute cork-topped jars. ‘With many plastic bottles, it may say recyclable on the bottle but the majority may still end up in landfill,’ explains marketing director Caitriona Ni Chonghaile. 'Glass jars that could be reused or recycled appealed to Ruth, our founder, and customers often use them for candleholders or spices in the kitchen. They are sealed with untreated, natural, sustainably harvested cork and our boxes have all been printed on card from sustainably managed forests.’ We love: Regenerating Skin Balm, based on coconut oil and cocoa butter, has a rich formula to sooth dry skin on both your face and lips. €27.50 from www.whitewitch.ie.
Starflower seed/Borage seed oil is the richest source of GLA yet discovered. GLA is essential to healthy skin.Read More
Barbary Fig Seed Oil is the cold pressed oil of the seeds of the prickly pear cactus. It takes 8 tones of fruit to product 1 litre of oil.
We get our Barbary Fig seed Oil/Prickly Pear Seed Oil from a sustainably managed local women run co-operative in Morocco.
Hydrating, Protecting and Renewing - Super rich in Fatty Acids, Barbary Fig seed Oil/Prickly Pear Seed Oil is one of the most powerful, most precious, skin care ingredients ever known.
The levels of vitamin E found in prickly pear seed oil is the highest of any plant oil in production today. Vitamin E greatly improves moisture retention of skin which makes it helpful in reducing the appearance of wrinkles. It slows the breakdown of our collagen producing cells.
Barbary fig seed oil is rich in Vitamin K. Vitamin K is proven to reduce under-eye circles, it also heals bruising and helps prevent scarring. It also reduces redness and evens out skin tone, effectively refining the skins appearance.
Barbary fig seed oil contains high levels of Zinc. Zinc reduces redness and inflammation of spots and irritations while at the same time balances oil secretions.
Barbary fig seed oil is rich in Phytosterols. Phytosterols have antioxidant and antibacterial properties. They help to retain skins moisture while boosting collagen production. In trials phytosterols have been shown to actually reverse signs of ageing.
Barbary fig seed oil contains polyphenols which are free radical scavengers that actively fight oxidation or ageing of the skin. They prevent and can even reverse sun damage to the skin.
One of the questions we get asked most often is: "what is the best product for my 'problem' skin?".
The most common skin problems include Acne, Dryness, Redness, Sensitive Skin, Blackheads, Wrinkles, Sagging Skin and Blemishes.
Normally I guess as a skincare business we should try to sell one of our products. However we at White Witch® feel the best approach is to do our best to help people to fix their problems holistically.
So here iT is: The Truth about how to achieve Healthy, beautiful skin
First of all, as most of us know, our skin works extremely hard protecting us and eliminating toxins 24 hours a day. Sometimes putting products ON our skin actually makes it more difficult for our skin to do it's job, especially if it is struggling to cope to begin with. The first thing we need to do is help the skin from the inside out.
We can do that by taking care of what we eat and by making sure we get enough sleep. Some toxins are difficult to avoid, for example traffic fumes and stress (which is treated like a toxin by the liver). We can start right now by making sure the water we drink is pure and the food we eat fresh, wholesome and healthy, and not laden with chemicals. We can reduce stress through meditation and by getting enough sleep and rest.
Once we make these first moves, which, are like a lot of things in life, easier said than done, we are well on our way to having better skin. So what extra action can we take to help?
White Witch have a few secrets to share with you
There are 3 very important supplements that we can take that will make a dramatic improvement to our skin's health.
The 3 we recommend are
1. MSM Sulphur
2. Vitamin C
MSM Sulphur and Vitamin C: These are the magic duo. These two nutrients are essential to the building blocks of our cells, which renew themselves on a daily basis. It is important to mention that it is not just the cells in our skin that renew every day. Our vital organs, for example: our liver, heart, kidneys and lungs, get first dibs of our vitamin C and Sulphur stores. Whatever is left over goes to our Skin, Hair and Nails. This is the reason, when our diets are poor and we are stressed, the first thing to suffer is our appearance.
Why we need to supplement: In these modern times a lot of our fruit and vegetables, which is where we get our main supply of Vitamin C and Sulphur, have been sitting on the shelves or in storage for days before we eat them. This means that most of us are eating foods that are greatly lacking in these essential nutrients. By taking Vitamin C and Sulphur supplements every day we are ensuring there is always enough for our Skin, hair and nails. The effects of taking these two together will be noticeable as quickly as 48 hours after starting*.
The other supplement we recommend is Kelp*. Kelp is the richest source of hyaluronic acid on the planet. Now we could say: take hyaluronic acid extract, but at White Witch® we believe that keeping things whole and unprocessed if at all possible, is always the safest way to go.
What Hyaluronic acid does for our skin: Hyaluronic acid helps the skin to retain moisture and therefore adds plumpness, freshness and a youthful appearance. It helps keep the skin supple, healthy and youthful without the need to apply any product at all.
So we are not doing a great job promoting our products so far are we? ;) but in all honesty we at White Witch® believe that you are wasting money applying topical products without first improving the overall health of the skin from the inside first. In the long run there will be less need for make-up, moisturiser, concealer and less money spent, not to mention it being better for our planet.
Coming soon: Masks you can make at home to condition and detoxify your skin and help with skin rejuvenation. Meanwhile please check out the details of the full range of products in our shop and how they can benefit your move towards beautiful healthy skin: Regenerating Skin Balm, Antioxidant Skin Conditioner, Anti Age Moisturiser, Nourishing Face Mask, Deep Cleanse Mask, Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser.
* Always consult the label.
Creating good skincare products, using organic unprocessed plant-based ingredients and presenting them in plastic-free packaging, is what White Witch does best. And there's more...
Of primary importance is the 'energy' flowing as the products are being created. Not just at the conception stage, when we are researching the ingredients, combining the properties of the plants and focusing on what we want the product to do. We carry that same energy through to the blending stage, and pouring stage and even to the packaging stage. The energy we put in is a big part of the magic of White Witch.
We can't control what happens to our ingredients before they get to us but we like to be sure that nothing was harmed in the process. That's why all of our ingredients are certified organic and ethically sourced. That's also why we switched from using honey and beeswax to all vegan. We want to help the earth, not hurt her. We want to take care of skin and the earth at the same time. Because in a way they are the same.
We are one! That's the magic!
Since the beginning in 2005 White Witch held the ethics of veganism close to the heart.
This mention in the Irish Times from 2008
"A small Galway-based firm called White Witch makes great natural, ethical and very affordable beauty products and perfumes with great biodegradable packaging. The range includes a facial steam sachet with rose petals for €2.20 and the magical Bridget's Balm for use on everything from nappy rash to joint inflammation, which costs €6. (www.whitewitch.ie)."
Instructions for making rose beads
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When worn against the skin the heat from the body causes the natural oils in rose beads to be released.
Collect your ingredients
1. Dried and powdered fragrant rose buds petals.
2. Plain water or rose water
Equipment you will need
A small bowl for mixing the rose clay
12" strips of plastic coated wire (the sort found in electrical cables)
A darning needle
A clean work surface
How to make the clay
Put your rose powder into the bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the powder.
Pour in a small quantity of the water into the well.
Begin to mix the powder and water together with your fingers.
Add more water if necessary.
When a consistency of a soft pastry or dough is reached the clay is ready.
You want it to be pliable yet not sticky, firm but not brittle.
If the clay is too moist add a small amount of powder and if it is too dry add a small amount of water.
How to make the beads
Keeping the lump of clay in the bowl begin by breaking of a small nugget of dough.
About the size of a grape. Remember that the beads will shrink when they are dry.
Obviously the size that you make is up to you. Don't make them too big or they will take too long to dry and may get mouldy which will mean you have to throw them out and start again.
Roll the nugget of clay around in your hands. Keep your hands a little moist to prevent the clay sticking to them. This is very soothing work.
When a nice smooth bead has been formed that has no cracks in the surface you are ready to make the hole in the bead.
If you are finding it difficult to form the bead then your dough may be a little dry. Stop now and add some more water and mix your dough again.
Now when your bead is ready take your needle and make a hole right through the middle of the bead. Keep the bead held firmly but gently between your thumb and forefinger. When making the hole make it bigger than the width of the needle by wriggling the needle. The hole will shrink too when the bead dries.
When the bead has a hole going through it lay it gently down on your surface.
Take a piece of wire and make a knot in one end. Pass the wire carefully through the bead and take the bead all the way down to about 2 inches from the end of the wire. It might take a bit of practice to do this without breaking the bead but rest assured it is possible.
When the bead is on the wire you could if you wanted to make some little decorations in the surface of the bead using the point of your darning needle. I usually wait until the clay has firmed up somewhat before I begin the process of decorating the beads.
You can make all your beads at once and then start to string them on the wires when they are all made. This is entirely up to you.
Once the beads are strung and the wire is full then you must find a suitable place to hang your beads to dry. If you take two small hooks and screw them into the underside of a shelf you could string the wire between them.
You could also choose to lay the beads on a tray and leaving them in a dry dark place to dry.
Turn them every so often and move them on the wire to keep them loose and easy to remove.
When they are drying the temperature must not be too hot or the beads will split, and it must not be too cold or the beads will go mouldy.
The best place is somewhere airy and cool, for example a place where you are drying herbs to preserve their properties.
They should be dry in a week or less. When they are dry they should be very hard like a dry kidney bean. Store them in a dry place for use.
The smell of roses will remain for many years if properly preserved. Do not allow your beads to get wet.
You can experiment and press the rose clay into moulds and then remove to let dry. You must remember that they should not be too large otherwise the clay will not dry all the way through without going mouldy. I made some very simple round medallion moulds and I pressed a design into each one using a needle. I found that some of them did crack when they were drying but that was due to the place being too warm. Remember cool and airy is the best place.