an open letter to “green beauty”

whew. okay, i’ve had this written since july 2020 and never pressed “published” out of fear. here it goes.

disclaimer: this is my opinion, not fact. i am not perfect – i am or have been guilty of everything i discuss. this is vulnerability, and i am open to hearing different sides and learning.

dear green beauty –

i’m writing because i love you and care about you… and because i’m disappointed. disappointed not just in you, but in myself. the green beauty community of 10 years ago is nothing like it is now, and i see the good and the bad in that. change and flexibility are important, but i’m disappointed that we’re falling short of what i think we could be.

the good? the sense of community, the push to be educated consumers, the creativity explored, the knowledge shared, the acceptance and vulnerability.

the bad? the fear-mongering, the inaccessibility, the gate-keeping, the misleading and over-the-top marketing tactics.

how did we get here?

from many converging paths, surely. everything from fear-mongering bloggers, like me, to money-grubbing businesses who saw fear-based vulnerability as opportunity.

so let’s lay it out.


  1. fear-mongering

    let me first say – i did this and i’m not proud. i started this very blog because i bought into the fear-mongering so hard that i actively pushed it out to literally thousands of others. it’s toxic and problematic. once upon a time, i really thought using dove was definitely going to increase my risk for cancer and i needed to stop shampooing my hair. before anyone gets upset or confused – please stop for a second and hear me out. i am not saying no-‘poo is wrong or less-than – i personally don’t use conventional shampoo and don’t see myself ever doing so, but let me be clear that it’s because my scalp does so much better now and i really enjoy herbal-infused products. it doesn’t mean that someone that doesn’t like herbal-infused products is the enemy or is wrong.

    plenty of people see true beneficial results from switching to “green” products, including myself. i personally don’t see myself returning to “conventional” products. but you? keep doing what is working for you and your family! know that “going green” doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s okay. that being said, if anyone ever wants to try out a “crunchy” formula with me, i’ll be here.

    the other side of this is fear-mongering to the point you’re telling consumers untrue things that is putting their health at risk. my biggest complaint with the green beauty industry here is preservatives. preservatives are outright demonized to the point we have businesses formulating without them, resulting in consumers receiving nasty petri dish products. personally, i’ve seen two companies insist that they’ve “preserved” products containing water with *honey*. that’s not only false, it’s dangerous. i get on a soapbox about this topic HERE, if you’re interested.

  2. inaccessibility

    there are so many ways this impacts green beauty. for one, so much emphasis is put on “sexy” and trendy ingredient lists, which ultimately can drive prices sky-high. why has everything become a “luxury” item and experience? sure, luxury has always had a place and always will; that’s fine. but since when is that the standard? second, we have all seen the exorbitant price tags that don’t match sourcing, fair wages, or formulations. yes, there is a really nice-looking shea butter blue balm that’s been claimed as basically an entire life-changing experience, but i promise you it’s not worth $180 for 50 mL. again, luxury has a place, but why are we ignoring everyone we’ve excluded in doing this? this isn’t to shame those that have the privilege of enjoying luxury items – enjoy your products.

    my point here is green beauty has swung so far sideways from its original humble inception that it’s no longer widely accessible to the masses. is that fair? is this acceptable? i personally don’t think so. where are the accessible options? why is this now so exclusionary? speaking of being exclusionary, this tangentially leads me into my next point.

  3. inclusion (lack thereof)

    we can’t ignore the lack of BIPOC presence in the green beauty space. we can’t ignore the deep-rooted colonialism wearing a “unique ingredient” mask (at best). sure, many companies are finally taking action and many people are finally making space for those important voices to be heard, but we have a lot of work to do. green beauty has somehow become white women marketing to white women and we can absolutely do better. we need to do better. if you have no idea where to start, i’ve posted a non-exhaustive list of companies to support here. please add more in the comments and i’ll update as needed.

    another aspect of a lack of inclusion is gate-keeping of knowledge. this is more prolific in the herbalist community, but with so many overlaps between herbalism and green beauty, i thought it important to acknowledge. learning how to formulate and create safely isn’t some top classified secret to be kept. learning which herbs can help for certain things and which to avoid shouldn’t be an opportunity to money gouge and withhold valuable and helpful information. and this doesn’t even touch how this is yet another form of colonization, by the way. while i’ve tried to help by posting all my formulas and reference articles for free with 0 affiliates or sponsors, there’s more work to be done.

  4. problematic marketing

    let’s keep this two-fold for now: one, misleading marketing; two, over-the-top marketing. let me explain.

    misleading marketing has many faces. it can be business owners parading as almighty sources of infinite knowledge and experience, of which in many cases they are not. it can also be businesses telling you that “clean” is better and then shaming you into redirecting your funds to them.

    secondly, the over-the-top marketing that has become the standard needs to go. the product descriptions dripping with superlatives that really mean nothing is, at best, smoke and mirrors. using a face mist can be lovely, sure; but it most certainly will not magically transport you to hawaii and cause you to hear the wind in the palm trees as the ocean laps in the distance. soap is freaking soap; it’s not a divine connection to the spiritual realm worth the price of weekly groceries.

  5. false sense of sustainability

    ok – this one is tricky since it’s intrinsically linked with current technologies, sourcing, climate conditions, etc., but my main issue is that green beauty is not inherently sustainable but it’s marketed as such. take for example that there are herbs that are not sustainable to harvest at the mass-production demand levels we have, like echinacea, chaga, or dragon’s blood resin. but it’s not just herbs – it’s product packaging and shipping, too. what, in my opinion, sucks the most is there are no real “sustainable” alternatives to cosmetic packaging that are widely available or accessible. with technological advances we can hold out confident hope there will be. so what can we and/or businesses do? reduce the impact. choose materials that are recycled and recyclable, for example. it’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than inaction.


so, my dear green beauty. i’ll leave this here. i’m keeping my butter balms and tinctures, but i’m walking away from the smoke and mirrors.



diy belly butter

hi loves! with this post i’m sharing a belly butter that was inspired by a peachy-colored “all-over” balm i made for my friend.

this is for all our pregnant peeps out there that want to keep their skin moisturized. it also helps with itching and scarring, which i hear happens when your stomach skin stretches to grow a human. seriously, growing a whole human being inside of you? badass.

this is anhydrous, so it doesn’t need a preservative system. it’s pretty easy to make, too! it should take about a half hour from start to finish. 

it’s a great gift idea!

>>> makes 6 ounces. // store tightly sealed and away from sunlight. // toss after 1 year. // apply to dampened skin for best results.

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RECIPE: 1 ounce oil & 5 ounces butter

  • 5 oz unrefined shea butter
  • 1/4 ounce tamanu
  • 1/4 ounce rosehip co2
  • 1/2 ounce marula oil
  • 5 mL calendula co2

need help sourcing ingredients? i have a post HERE to help (no affiliate links, etc).


  1. in a double boiler, melt your shea butter until completely liquid. this should only take a few minutes.
  2. remove from heat once melted. let cool for 1-2 mins.
  3. add calendula co2 and mix well. this ingredient is the consistency of ear wax. make sure it melts and mixes evenly!
  4. add rosehip co2, tamanu oil, and marula oil. mix well.
  5. carefully pour into a balm container with a tight fitting lid*.
  6. let cool at room temperature overnight OR for best results, blast chill for 20 minutes in the freezer and remove.



*- you can use two 3 oz jars, 3 two oz jars.. depends on what you have / what you find. i recommend to use wide-mouth cosmetic jars, so it’s easy to scoop product out. 

ingredients we need to stop using in skincare (endangered / at-risk)

happy sunday loves! today we’re going to take a look into a handful of ingredients derived from flora that are at-risk or endangered, but still being used in skincare products.

i encourage you to dig deeper into each one, and kindly ask brands to rethink their formulations to exclude endangered flora. 

** please note this is more directed at mass-producers. that being said, we can all take the time to learn the nuances and ways to be more sustainable. this is not an authoritative list ❤

this is just meant to be a starting point for awareness and is definitely not an exhaustive list.

let’s get into it.

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any you would like to see added to this list? please share!

*palo santo – note it has been removed from the endangered list, but it’s not without complication. rare species of palo santo could still be at risk from unethical sourcing, and the use of this wood is ripe with cultural appropriation! 


free educational resources on herbalism

hi loves. here are some links to free resources to learn more about the world of herbalism. they are categorized by how you would want to learn – watch, read, or listen. please leave more in the comments to be added!


read first: Herbal Medicine Fundamentals from the American Herbalists Guild




  • Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa – blog
  • Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism – site
  • Herbal Actions – pdf




herbal-infused whipped body butter (no heat)

hello loves! welcome back.

today we’re whipping up (i’m hilarious) another super easy diy – herbal whipped body butter!

it’s silky, it’s anhydrous (read: no preservatives), not so greasy, and easily customizable. we love that on this blog.

this recipe yields two 8 ounce batches of whipped body butter, with 4 ounce of infused oil left over to use as you please. please buy cosmetic containers accordingly.

as always, no links provided are affiliates nor do i benefit in any way. they are only provided to help you with trusted ingredient sourcing. 


picture from pinterest/diyideacenter ; formula mine

please note this is not for intended for use on the face. it can clog pores, so be wary. 

this recipe is so buttery smooth, thanks to mango butter. if you’ve never felt this butter on its own before, you’re in for a real treat. it’s SO SILKY. because of this, you cannot substitute the mango butter in this recipe. you can, however, swap your carrier oils and/or herbs. just keep the total % ratios and it should come out very similar to the original. 

because mango butter is so silky, you actually don’t need to mess with heating it up. score!

before you order or bring out your ingredients — this will require an herbal solar infusion lasting 6 weeks.

the carrier oil i suggest for this formula is marulait’s pricey, and nearly any carrier of your choice will do. just be mindful of its oxidative stability. for example, argan oil and hempseed oil would unfortunately be poor choices for herbal infusions, whereas jojoba oil would be a good one. marula oil is very high in oleic acid* (~76%), deeply moisturizing, super fast-absorbing, and is one of the only oils that remains stable when exposed to light for extended periods of time. that will come in handy when we infuse our herbs in sunlight.

for our skin-supporting herbs, we’ll be blending in calendula and helichrysum, as both are incredibly soothing and skin-supporting, and anti-inflammatory. 

i’ve also chosen these 2 herbs not only because of their skin-supporting qualities, but because their constituents are fat-soluble. solubility is incredibly important in herbalism. if someone working with plants does not understand solubility, the end product could be ineffective. for example, an oil infused with horsetail will never help your skin and hair, because silica needs to be extracted in vinegar. as another example, marshmallow root is fantastic, but since the constituents you want for skin and hair are mucilaginous, it can only be extracted into hydrous bases. does that make sense? i wrote more on it before here.

let’s get into it. 


  • mixing bowl
  • electric hand-held mixer
  • 8 oz mason jar (“jelly jar”) w/ lid
  • large-mouthed glass jar w/ lid (or multiple to give as gifts, just adding up to 16 ounces total)
  • 6 weeks time



  1. in your 8 ounce glass jelly jar, put your dried herbs inside and pour the carrier oil over top. gently swirl/shake to get air bubbles up and out. 
  2. seal jar tightly and store in a warm, dry, sunny area. let sit for 6 weeks, but gently swirl/shake daily. 
  3. after the 6 weeks are up, strain oil/herb mix. keep the infused oil in jelly jar, sans herbs. 
  4. in a mixing bowl, add 12 ounces mango butter and 4 ounces of your infused carrier oil. 
  5. whip for 5 minutes. check the consistency. then keep whipping 3 minutes at a time until you get the consistency you want. 
  6. transfer to sterilized cosmetic jars (wide-mouth is best). 

store in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. 

best used on damp skin. 

please leave your customizations for this formula below.

have fun and enjoy!




diy body scrub (no salt, no sugar)

welcome back! today we’re mixing up a super simple, gently exfoliating body scrub that doesn’t involve sugar or salt.

as always, no links provided are affiliates nor do i benefit in any way. they exist only to help guide you on sourcing from trusted brands.



  • raspberry seed powder
  • your favorite carrier oil (jojoba, almond, olive, etc.)
  • optional – up to 1% essential oils, or clay, or butter, or ground oats, or flower petals, etc. get creative!


  • in a clean, dry bowl, add 4 ounces or 1/2 cup of the finely ground walnut shell powder
  • add 2 to 4 ounces or 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your favorite carrier oil and stir (will vary based on your desired consistency)
  • add any optional ingredients, tweaking the recipe to get the perfect consistency

use on damp skin and rinse thoroughly. follow up with your favorite body oil or body moisturizer. store in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight.

what will you add to your body scrub? what carrier oil will you use?

share your formulas below or with me on ig @_alexandraraye


herbal-infused hair & scalp rinse

welcome back, loves.

for today’s herbalism-inspired diy, we’re creating an herbal-infused hair & scalp rinse! the base of this will be vinegar, which i’ll explain more below.

this will take 4 weeks to infuse, but i promise it’s worth the wait.

the formula yields six 4 ounce rinses.

as always, no links are affiliates nor do i benefit in any way. the links provided are only to help guide you to my trusted ingredient sources.


picture from graydon skincare blog / formulation wholly mine

for the menstruum, we’ll be using apple cider vinegar. why? because we want to deliver nutrients, like silica, to the scalp and hair directly. we’ve covered solubility in our comprehensive “introduction to herbalism” post here. please check it out! acv is also great for the scalp and hair, helping to rid of fungal overgrowth, help with dandruff / itchy scalp, and to optimize pH (read: make hair silky smooth to touch).

as for the herbs, we’ll be using horsetail, oatstraw, nettles, and rosemary.

horsetail is rich in silica, to help strengthen the hair. it cannot be extracted into water or oil, making it perfect for this formula.

oatstraw is another herb rich in silica, perfect for a hair rinse!

nettles are rich in silica, sulfur, and other minerals, again making it perfect for a scalp and hair rinse.

rosemary is known in the herbal world to help stimulate hair growth and ease scalp issues, like dandruff.

all together they are a hair & scalp powerhouse, when infused properly.


  • 32 ounce glass jar with tight-fitting lid
  • 4 oz squirt or spray bottle



  1. in your 32 oz mason jar, add all 5 tbs of dried herbs
  2. in same jar, add 3 cups (or 24 oz) of apple cider vinegar
  3. shake/stir gently to release air bubbles and reduce risk of mold growth. make sure herbs are completely covered. they will swell over time.
  4. sit in a cool, dry area, away from light for 4 weeks.
  5. gently stir daily.
  6. at 4 weeks, strain well and store in sterilized jar.
  7. add 4 ounces at a time to a squeezy bottle for ease of use.


  • on either dry or wet hair, pour/squeeze mix onto scalp and gently massage. let it run down the length of your hair.
  • let sit for 5 to 15 minutes
  • rinse well with cool water
  • enjoy weekly

store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. toss if the appearance or smell takes a turn.

discard unused portion after 6 months.



i answer google search terms that brought people to my blog – PT 2


welcome back! 🙂 

here we are again, almost exactly 1 year later (ha…), reviewing my blog stats and getting to read what people searched to wind up on this site.


black walnut hair dye 

this was by far the most searched term that drove organic views to this site in the last year. yes, i have dyed my hair with black walnuts, and yes, it actually works. here’s the original post from 7 years ago (wow). 

norwex cloths

among the phrases in this search term were things like “home cleaning” and “private parts”…. when i first used norwex cloths in 2013, it was because a rep provided them to me to review. i ended loving them so much that i purchased a pack with my own money. those washcloths are still in my bathroom to this day, lovingly being used and in great shape. highly recommend! 

dragon’s blood

dragon what? what blood? good ol croton lechleri sap is fantastic for skin-support. i first wrote about it here, but it’s now found in countless green beauty products. and guys – it can be used undiluted on skin as a liquid bandaid. super cool!

msm face mask

methylsulfonylmethane (msm) is a sulfur compound that is great both externally and internally. if you want to learn more and try it in an exfoliating mask, try this post. if you want to combine it with anti-inflammatory powerhouse turmeric, try this post. and if you want something moisturizing and skin-softening, try this post. happy mixing!

hydrojelly face mask 

hydro-gel face masks have become my favorite, since i live in a high-altitude, dry, polluted city. think: 100% Pure but make it DIY. they’re easy to customize and easy to make, making them a fun diy tailored for your skin needs. the coolest part is they come right off with no scrubbing and no mess. i usually make/use these every other week. here’s a post

water-only washing 

while i personally can’t follow this method anymore, because i live in a high-altitude, dry, and polluted city, i think it’s a fantastic option for those that can. it’s exactly what it sounds like, and no, you won’t end up stinking. my hair ended up shinier and softer than ever, and could actually hold a curl. here’s a post on w.o.w. for hair and one for body

(product name) dupe

i do have a formulation educational series on this blog, which took inspiration from actual green beauty products on the market. while no companies or product names are used, it’s a nice series on learning to read ingredient labels and understand how that translates into a formula. it’s also a nice starting point for those wanting to get into diys, but don’t know where to start. here’s the full series. there’s lot of good info in those posts, if i do say so myself!


anything else you’re curious about? maybe we’ll have part 3 in another year 😉