About Ava

avaI have always loved skin care products: creamy creams, grainy-textured face scrubs, pampering massage oils, what not. When I was in college (back in Poland), a girlfriend opened my medicine cabinet and noted that I had a few different products just for different parts of the foot! When I had a day off, I would make my own yogurt-banana face masks, egg yolk - lemon juice - castor oil hair masks (amazingly effective, by the way), or a quick pat-on summer body moisturizer from mineral water shaken vigorously with a little olive oil. To me, these activities were the ultimate "me" time.

The beauty regimen fascination continued on after I moved to the U.S. in 1996, at the age 21. I started devouring books on nutritional healing, herbal healing, homeopathy, and aromatherapy. A boyfriend laughed when I read Paul Pitchford's heavy tome "Healing with Whole Foods" cover to cover (a few times, not once). He said reference books were meant to be referenced, not read. Around 2004, I became interested in aromatherapy - and that proved quite expensive! I just had to buy and experience geranium bourbon, Indian jasmine sambac, osmanhus, blue lotus, French high-altitude lavender, . . . and Haitian vetiver after reading about the aromas and their amazing properties. One aids in concentration, another one is great for lifting the mood, yet another one is a must for preventing around-the-eye wrinkles. And once you have the oils on hand, you realize that their aromatherapy properties last only up to two years if stored carefully. So, that could have been, if I remember correctly, one reason for me to start making my own skin and body care products. Another reason could have been that I wasn't happy with the mainstream face and body products anymore; their textures seemed plastic-y, their scents uninspiring, and I no longer believed their marketing claims. I had become too immersed in farmers' market-fresh organic foods, herbs, and those transporting essential oils to be in the least satisfied, or awed, by Chanel or Clinique.

I lived in New York City back then, and a few health food stores had begun to stock shea butter, cocoa butter, rose water, and other ingredients to help me get started with my own production. Even though I arrived at my then day job at a major book publisher with oil-heavy unwashed looking hair at least once (having tested sesame oil as a leave-on hair treatment the night before), my coworkers started begging me to make products for them. Handcrafted beauty potions were such a novelty then. One coworker needed an acne-super-sensitive-skin face toner, another a pain-relieving ointment, yet another a nontoxic face moisturizer for use during pregnancy. My nights were busy and I loved the popularity of my concoctions. 

So this is how it all started. Now Earthwise Beauty barely fits in its studio and we have been able to take freshness, purity, quality, and luxury to new levels over time thanks to a combination of passion, dedication, experience, and also lots of hard work and talent from our employees. We now have close partnerships with organic gardeners, two beekeepers, and a small handful of essential oil and hydrosol suppliers and distillers (who are all dedicated to authenticity, purity, freshness, and organic and sustainability standards). We stay focused on our pro-environment practices and fair trade commitment even as the daily number of orders to fill grows and the complexity of managing our business increases. 

Things always evolve, and Earthwise Beauty expands. In spring and summer of 2016, I began a serious study of flower essence therapy and enrolled in the Flower Essence Practitioner program with Delta Gardens in New Hampshire. I am now completing the final assignments and case studies to receive my practitioner diploma. I am also studying the Alaskan Essences system of flower and gem essences, and well, also beginning to the Mushroom Essences by Robert Rogers. Flower and also gem essences are slowly making their way into many of our products and a growing collection is offered for sale on our separate web site pnwessences.com. 

Then, time will have to be made for studying formally with Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D., who is the U.S. foremost medical aromatherapist and highly respected worldwide (I have read and re-read all his books many times, and they are the base for my use of essential oils therapeutically in our products). Robert Tisserand's book, encyclopedic in size and scope titled Essential Oil Safety, Second Edition, is my go-to to verify the current state of research on recommended percentages and potential contraindications for essential oils' use topically. Majority of my herbal knowledge comes from reading and re-reading of all books by Matthew Wood, and Matthew is another guru with whom I absolutely want to study more closely when time permits. 

If you haven't yet, I hope you will give our products a try some time soon. They are made because I want to share with you the results of my love for skin care ingredients made from some incredible, often barely known still, and hard to find medicinal plants. Those plants, and also flowers, leaves, wood, and resin that give us essential oils and absolutes, offer unparalleled skin care benefits if only we process them minimally, store them carefully, and give them a chance to "talk" to our skin.