FAQ

What does “Raw Nutrition for your skin” mean?

The human body is a self-healing and self-rejuvenating organism, if given the proper tools and environment. You can obtain optimum health through the use of live, enzyme rich foods that detoxify the body and renew and build all its cells. The latest nutritional research clearly suggests that cooked foods contribute to many of our illnesses, chronic diseases and premature deaths. Cooked or processed food (which 95% of people eat 95% of the time) has no healing powers whatsoever and is why many doctors still don’t understand that foods can heal.

Nutritionally speaking, living foods are the richest source of enzymes, oxygen, chlorophyll, vitamins, essential fatty acids and fiber known. They provide an incredible power to heal both the body and the mind. They are like medicine without any side effects. Raw living foods are amazing rejuvenating agents.

Heat destroys oxygen and enzymes. Processed cooked foods have zero vital healing energy in them. The raw food diet is rich in enzymes and oxygen, both of which are missing in processed foods, dairy products and meat. People see profound improvements in their health when they change their habits and embrace a raw food lifestyle. They are healed from amazing diseases by changing to a raw food diet, but how much better it is to prevent a problem rather than try to cure it. Eating a high-enzyme diet of raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds, nuts, grains and some seaweed will profoundly increase your chances of achieving optimal health. Eating predominately cooked food puts a tremendous strain on the body. To understand why this is true, you need to understand the role enzymes play.

Enzymes are in the cells of every living plant and animal. It is enzyme activity that accomplishes all biological work from blinking an eye, to lifting a finger, to having a thought. When we eat we need enzymes to help digest the food. If the food we are eating is raw, all the enzymes we need are right there in the food itself, ready to go to work for us. If the food is cooked beyond 116˚ F, these naturally occurring enzymes are killed by the heat, and our body must manufacture its own digestive enzymes to do the job. When the body is using up all its enzymes to digest food it is unable to make the kinds of enzymes needed for cleansing, healing and building. Without an adequate supply of metabolic enzymes, over time, we suffer. What does this suffering look like? It looks like disease, indigestion, constipation, age spots, fatigue, lethargy, wrinkles, bad skin, declining memory, allergies, irritability ….. Need I go on? Over time, the body losses it’s ability to manufacture enzymes (young adults have 30 times the enzymes of the elderly), and when we eat food that is cooked, it forces our bodies to manufacture enzymes for digestion, instead of enzymes that could be used for healing. Ultimately, when we don’t have enough enzymes to carry out the basic needs of life, we die.

We, at Astara, believe the same paradigm applies in skin care and that is why Astara products are made from the finest Botanical ingredients and these are never heated above 105˚.
By: Sunny Griffin – Founder of Astara Skin Care

What does “organic” really mean in skin care products?

Driven by the dramatic influence of the media and the internet, we live in an age of heightened consumer awareness. Pesticide-riddled or highly processed foods stripped of their natural goodness are losing favor with the multitudes, and likewise, most don’t wish to put highly processed or pesticide-laden ingredients on our skin. In fact, I like to say: “If you wouldn’t want to eat it why would you want to rub it on your face?”

Often times, what is not inside the bottle or jar is just as important as what is in it. Astara products do not have toxic preservatives, parabens, formaldehyde, petroleum or petroleum derivatives, harsh surfactants or sulfides, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, phthalates or artificial colors or dyes.

But are they 100% Organic? Personal care products are not regulated by the FDA or any other government agency so there really is no such thing as organic certification for skin care products in the USA. When we think of organic we think of quality, safety and sustainability. For thousands of years almost every culture on Earth has had its own culture of making natural beauty care and medicines from plants and herbs. Many of the so-called organic products in stores today bear no resemblance to the pure products created by our ancestors, but by labeling them as organic, manufacturers are able to sell them at a premium and market them as if they were potent potions. Products touting Organic “certification” not only reinforce the myth, but have added to the confusion.

At Astara we carefully source our ingredients and attempt to use only truly organically certified ingredients whenever possible, but we feel it is even more important that the active botanical ingredients we use contain all the enzymes that made them effective in the first place and this is only possible if the ingredient has not been heated above 116 degrees F. Enzymes that are undamaged by heat or chemicals are easily assimilated into the skin where they create the vital energy necessary for cell and tissue regeneration. We feel our standards are stricter than what is commonly accepted as Organic because our products have a verifiable life force and truly make a difference. ~ Sunny Griffin

When should I start using ‘anti-aging’ products?

As a general rule it’s good to start using anti-aging products around the age of thirty to help prevent fine lines and wrinkles, and even younger if you have dry skin. Thirty seems to be the magical age at which all sorts of systems within our bodies, specifically in our skin, start to breakdown. (Happy happy, joy joy.) For example, our skin virtually stops making collagen, a key component that gives our skin its “bounce back” quality and thus a loss of elasticity. With Astara, you can use our anti-aging products at a younger age because of the nourishing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential oils – good nutrition is good nutrition at any age, period.

Is the Blue Flame Purification Line safe to use during pregnancy?

Salicylic Acid is found in the Blue Flame Purifying Treatment and is definitely contraindicated for use during pregnancy. The other two most talked about in this regard are Tea Tree Oil, found in the Blue Flame Purification Mask, Blue Flame Gel Cleanser, Blue Flame Toning Mist and Blue Flame Purifying Treatment and Willow Bark Extract, found in the Blue Flame Gel Cleanser and Blue Flame Toning Mist. These ingredients have similar analgesic effects as aspirin. We have found no conclusive studies showing damage to the fetus, but consult your doctor first before beginning any regime that contains essential oils.

Can I use different products from different brands together?

Yes. Using products from multiple brands together does not make them any less effective. The important thing is that you choose products with good, quality ingredients from manufacturers you trust. As a matter of fact, we like to say that if Astara Skin Care had a Native American name it would be PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS. We also like to say, “BUY LOTS OF ASTARA” in a hypnotic, Bela Lugosi sort of way, but we’ll leave that for later. Consider our products like skin care building blocks; they all fit together in a myriad of ways. You’d really have to try to make a mistake to make a mistake. However, it is important that you use products that are right for your skin type and condition regardless of brand.

I just started using your products, why am I breaking out?

This may happen when transitioning to highly active products. Astara helps activate the skin, encouraging it to function as intended, which may allow suppressed or underlying conditions to surface. Our products purify and balance, allowing skin to breathe and detoxify. As the skin returns to a balanced state, the symptoms will subside. However keep in mind it is possible that you may be allergic to an ingredient in the product. People can be allergic to plant-based ingredients, just as they can with synthetic ones. We fully accept returns for used and opened products for 30 days after you’ve purchased it. Call us and we’ll help you return it and find something new. Usually an allergic reaction consists of raised bumps and is easy to identify.

How long until I see a noticeable effect on my skin?

It depends on what you are looking to accomplish and what products you choose to do that. If you want your skin to look smooth, more alive and vibrant, you can achieve that with one mask application with the results being fairly short lived (a couple of days.) If you want to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and age spots, you can expect to see results in 3-4 weeks as the skin renews itself during its normal cellular mitosis process.

As you can probably imagine, the variables are many, but the most important one is if you are willing to be consistent with your skin care and actually USE the products. I know, I know, it seems obvious, but it bears repeating. You are the biggest factor that will make or break your results. Here is a simple equation regarding skin care, but you can apply it to almost anything in life and you’d be right…most of the time!

Good – EFFORT = RESULTS
Better – TARGETED EFFORT = TARGETED RESULTS.
Best – OPTIMAL EFFORT = OPTIMAL RESULTS

So if you want optimal results and the best skin you can have, then following a consistent routine (the second Key to Success after YOU) that includes our four simple steps will serve you well.

What should a proper skin care routine look like?

Introduction to Skin Care 101 

Daytime: All you really need is a light cleanse in the morning. After all, you haven’t done anything to get your skin dirty overnight…uh, well, we’re going to assume so anyway. Mist or use a cotton round and go over entire face, neck and décolleté to refresh the skin. Choose an appropriate treatment product: think, “What’s going to aid my skin in looking healthy, vibrant and hydrated?” During the day we want to feed and protect with active nutrients and antioxidants.

Evening: This is when you want to do your major cleanse for the day to remove make-up, dirt and debris, pollution, sweat, and anything else that has made its way onto your skin from day or evening activities (fill in the blank.) Tone according to skin type and condition. Your nighttime program should be based on healing and recovery as this is when the skin repairs itself. Richer concentration of vitamins, super antioxidants and humectants create the perfect environment to nourish and repair. Treating the skin while it rests creates optimal results.

Special Weekly Treatment: A facial mask can benefit your skin as needed, but as a general rule use only once a week. We recommend using a mask at night when you have more time to relax and can give your skin a break from make-up. After cleansing apply a mask, leave mask on approximately 10-15 minutes (or as directed on the packaging), rinse with warm water and apply a facial toner and/or night conditioning product.

Step

Daily

Weekly

 

AM

PM

 
Step 1 – Cleanser This first step removes impurities, surface debris and make-up, while maintaining the skin’s natural pH balance. Apply to moistened skin in a circular motion. Rinse with warm washcloth. Light Cleanse –Use toner on cotton round to refresh and remove excess oil. Major Cleanse –
Use appropriate cleanser to remove make-up and dirt from the day.
Exfoliate – 1-3x/wk
Manual or chemical, choose according to your skin type and condition.
Step 2 – Toner
This second step completes the cleansing process. Apply directly to face, or onto cotton round and then to the face.
Mist or Cotton Round to finish off cleansing process. Use Cotton Round for more thorough effect  
Step 3 – Treatment
Apply to cleansed skin and allow to penetrate for optimal results. Seal in with a moisturizer.
Serums
(Put your best face forward.)
Serums 
(Repair, Replenish)
Mask, exfoliants
Step 4 – Moisturizer

Day

Night

 
Choose appropriate for skin type and condition. Protect and Hydrate Repair and Nourish  
Step 5 – Eye
Use day and night for optimal results.
Apply a small amount to the orbital bone only by gently patting with ring finger. Apply a small amount to the orbital bone only by gently patting with ring finger.  

 

Cleansers – Why should I use a cleanser instead of soap? What are the benefits?
1. Soap can leave a film on the skin where cleansers rinse clean.
2. Soap can be drying on the skin where cleansers are designed to leave the skin soft and moist.
3. Cleansers actually do penetrate into the pores for a deeper, more complete cleanse.
4. Cleansers help skin to maintain pH balance. Soap is very alkaline and takes skin out of pH balance.

Toners – What does a toner really do? What are the benefits?
1. Completes the cleansing process by removing all traces of cleanser and debris.
2. Prepares the skin for the subsequent phase, acting as a penetration leader.
3. Imparts the benefits of each specific formulation t refresh, stimulate, or calm as required.
4. Helps skin return to pH balance more quickly. Treatment – Formulated in high concentration, these third-step products are intensive treatments recommended for particular skin conditions. One may help to improve the skin’s elasticity and appearance; another may deliver bacteria fighting essences and sooth inflammation, while yet another helps to relieve dehydration and balance the skin. All Astara Skin Care products are formulated to treat your skin gently, yet effectively. Think of skin care as dressing your skin and these are the undergarments. If they are quality and do their job right, you won’t see any panty or bra lines, just a smooth firm fit.

Moisturizers – This final step helps to protect, nourish and moisturize the skin.
Day – During the day they help to combat the effect of the environment and pollution as well as create a base for smooth make up application.
Night – At night, a richer concentration of vitamins, super antioxidants and humectants create the perfect environment to nourish and repair. Treating the skin while it rests creates optimal results.
Eye – The eyes have it! The delicate eye area, being the most deficient in oil glands, needs special attention and specially formulated products. Made with fine molecules, our Eye Treatment penetrates easily, minimizes fine lines and helps prevent new ones from forming. Formulated to hydrate and firm. Use morning and night for best result.

Is it possible to put too many types of products on my face?

Yes and no. If you stick to the basic skin care regime (see Skin Care 101 above) you won’t overdo by any means. However, Astara products are very concentrated and only a small amount is needed. Start with the basics –cleanse, tone, treat and moisturize –then add more depending on your skin type, age, skin concerns and sensitivity. An eye treatment product and a mask or serums can be added on once you have a proper daily regime in place.

What do you recommend for fighting/treating acne?

Keep skin clean, soothed and nourished. Use products with ingredients clinically proven to kill bacteria that cause breakouts. We use Totara Tree (clinical studies show a 1,000 fold reduction in surface bacteria), Black Willow Bark (a source of salicylic acid, instrumental in fighting Staphylococcus Aureus and Propionibacterium acnes) and Tea Tree (broad spectrum bactericide, viricide, and fungicide). All support the skin’s natural ability to balance itself, reducing excess oil production, eliminating existing acne and preventing future breakouts.

Follow with a soothing, non-astringent toner that heals with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial plant ingredients. Although it may seem to be contradictory, you still need to add moisture to your skin. Choose a light oil-free moisturizer or serum in cream form (Activated Antioxidant Infusion is perfect for adult onset acne) that won’t block pores. A purifying mask will help absorb toxins and purify skin.

What do you recommend for Rosacea?

Make sure to use the gentlest products available formulated specifically to soothe, calm, protect and heal sensitive skin. Avoid synthetic colors and fragrances (none here). Look for gentle anti-inflammatory ingredients such as Grape Leaf, Arnica, Witch Hazel, Green Tea, Aloe Vera, Comfrey and Chamomile.

What do you recommend for wrinkles and fine lines?

Use a gentle, not drying cleanser. The AHA Nutrient Toning Essence meets the toning checklist with honors: slightly exfoliating to speed up cell renewal (Lactic Acid), hydrating with Organic Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic Acid and pro-aging antioxidants galore. Pick a moisturizer with anti-aging plant ingredients full of antioxidant-rich seed oils and other nurturing ingredients. An eye cream should be used daily to diminish wrinkles and prevent new ones from forming. Also treat skin with a firming or exfoliating mask, or both.

What’s the difference between skin type and skin condition?

Skin type is what you were born with. Sskin condition is how it is acting TODAY. Here’s the breakdown.

SKIN TYPE (What you were born with).
a. Normal (no ongoing issues, not too dry, not too oily, rare breakouts).
b. Normal to Dry (without skin care and moisturizers, tends toward dryness).
c. Dry (lacking oil results in fine lines, small, unperceivable pores, skin cracks under severe conditions).
d. Combination (oily T-zone, drier on the cheeks).
e. Oily (shiny all over in just a couple of hours after cleansing the skin).
f. Problematic/Acneic (constant breakouts, acne, rosacea, etc)

SKIN CONDITION (Weather, hormones, altitude, sun exposure, diet, poor sleep etc. all effect how your skin responds on a daily basis.) 
a. Normal.
b. Normal to Dry.
c. Dry (lacking oil results in fine lines, small, unperceivable pores, skin cracks under severe conditions).
d. Dehydrated (lacking water/moisture that results in flakiness).
e. Pre-mature aging (sun damage, loss of elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles).
f. Combination (oily T-zone, drier on the cheeks).
g. Oily (shiny all over in just a couple of hours after cleansing the skin).
h. Problematic/Acneic (constant breakouts, acne, rosacea, etc).

You have so many different masks. How do I know which is best for me?

Think of masks as having majors and minors in college. Some masks major in deep cleansing with a minor in nourishing, while another may major in exfoliation only.

Astara Skin Care Masks       
Special Care 1-2 times a week      
Product Key Ingredients What it does/Results Skin Type/Condition
Blue Flame Purification Mask 

 

 

 

Organic Aloe Vera, Tea Tree, Lavender, Sage, Rosemary and Mandarin Orange in Bentonite Clay.  Powerful deep purification of pores, decongests and stimulates circulation, absorbs excess oil and sebum. Soothes inflamed skin. All skin types in need of deep cleansing, purifying of pores. Makes an excellent spot treatment for blemishes.
Violet Flame Enzyme Mask   Pineapple Fruit Extract (Bromelain), Papain, Sugar Cane Extract, Vitamins A, C, E in Kaolin and Bentonite Clay Smoothes and softens skin, firms and tightens pores, reduces puffiness Dull, devitalized, sallow, potent exfoliation and oxygenation.
Green Papaya Nutrient Mask  

 

 

Papain and Pineapple Fruit Extracts, Organic Aloe Vera, Vitamins C and E, Chamomile, Comfrey and Calendula, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang in Bentonite Clay Soothes, nourishes, and reduces redness. Clarifies and rejuvenates. Appropriate for all skin types including sensitive skin. 
Golden Flame Hydration Mask 

 

 

 

 

Hyaluronic Acid, Chamomile, Calendula and Cucumber, Organic Aloe Vera, Vitamin E.  Gel-based extreme hydration. Cools, soothes, calms redness. Softens and plumps fine lines and wrinkles. Appropriate for all skin types including sensitive skin. Can be mixed with any other mask to increase hydration results. Can be used as a leave-on nighttime treatment.
Activated Sea Mineral Mask 

 

 

Organic Algae and Menthol, Spirulina, Rosemary and Hops, Jojoba Beads in Kaolin Clay. Contains Oatmeal. Exfoliates and remineralizes. Visibly softer and smoother skin. Restores clarity and vibrancy. Appropriate for most skin types. Not recommended for sensitive skin or Rosacea.
Nourishing Vitamin Mask 

 

 

 

 

Wheat Amino Acids, Squalane (from the olive pit), Vitamins C and E, Niacin, Beta-Glucan, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Soy Phospholipids, Royal Jelly, Pine Extract. Cream base. Revitalizes tired, dry, dull skin. Oxygenating. Leaves skin soft, bright and smooth. Reduces visible signs of aging. Normal, dry, mature, smoker’s skin, Not recommended for very sensitive skin. Can be used as a leave-on nighttime treatment.

 

Why Exfoliate?

The skin’s renewal process, called celluar mitosis, allows our skin to completely renew itself every 24-28 days. Cells that are born at deeper levels of the skin make their way up to the surface where they flatten out and die, creating the protective layer called the Stratum Corneum. This layer of dead skin cells, if not exfoliated periodically, can build up making skin look dull and lifeless. Pores get blocked causing breakouts, wrinkles are visibly enhanced and skin can look flaky. When we exfoliate, removing a portion of those surface dead cells, it sends a message to the layers below that “Hey, we’re missing some of our protective layer up here. Time to make more cells!” and the process of cellular mitosis begins again. As we age, however, this process slows down and instead of our cells renewing themselves every 24-28 days, it increase to 40-50 days and our skin looks duller for longer. Exfoliation kick starts the renewal process so that we get back to the monthly schedule of youthful skin. It also prepares the skin to fully benefit from any treatment or moisturizina products that follow.

What are the different types of Exfoliation?

Physical 

Product Name

Type

Levels of Exfoliation

Fine particles manually remove dead skin cells, increase circulation and aid in removal of toxins.

Daily Refining Scrub

Scrub/ Buff/Polish

Gentle

Medium

Strong

In conjunction with jojoba beadlets, a gentle sloughing action with fingertips facilitates the removal of dead skin cells.

Activated Sea Mineral Mask

Gommage

Gentle

   

Chemical 

Product Name

Type

Levels of Exfoliation

Enzyme-based applications that dissolve and extract dead cells

Violet Flame Enzyme Mask

Enzyme

 

Medium

 
 

Green Papaya Nutrient Mask

Enzyme

Gentle

   
Alpha Hydroxy Acids help to dissolve the intercellular “glue” that holds dead skin cells to the surface of the skin

Exfoliating Marine Treatment 

AHA

 

Medium

 
 

AHA Nutrient Toning Essence

AHA

Slight

   

 

Descriptions of Astara Skin Care Exfoliants.
Daily Refining Scrub– Gentle enough to use every day, this organic-aloe-based exfoliant combines diatomaceous earth from the depths of the sea with soothing and nutrient-rich plant extracts for profound cleansing, buffing, and removal of dead cells to improve overall skin health absorption of nutrients. Refines fine lines when used consistently. Boasts three levels of exfoliation when used according to use.
Activated Sea Mineral Mask– Rich in oligoelements as well as oxygenating, remineralizing exfoliating, and nourishing botanicals from the sea and land, this activated mask restores clarity, and vibrancy to dull and tired skin.
Violet Flame Enzyme Mask– Powerful fruit enzymes digest dead surface cells, oxygenate, and energize cell respiration, while nourishing vitamins boost skin vitality and restore hydration, especially to mature and weather-damaged skin.
Green Papaya Nutrient Mask– A heady blend of exotic fruit, tree, and herb extracts combine with anti-oxidative vitamins to nourish, resurface, soothe, polish, and hydrate the skin while calming the nerves and senses. A delightful, uplifting aroma-therapeutic treatment suitable for all skin types.
Exfoliating Marine Treatment- Mild to medium exfoliation combined with superior antioxidant supplementation and hydration is the key to beautiful, healthy results that last. Astara’s Exfoliating Marine Treatment provides this balance for your skin, revealing skin that looks visibly healthier, smoother and more radiant! Buffered Lactic (4%) and Glycolic Acids (4%) will synergistically encourage cell renewal, collagen production and hydration. Red and Brown Seaweeds provide antioxidant support and re-mineralize. Sodium Hyaluronate hydrates while D Beta Fructan and Glucosamine attract water and aid in cell renewal. 3.5 pH.
AHA Nutrient Toning Essence– Infused with brightening, toning, and hydrating ingredients, this multi-functional toner balances the pH mantle of the skin following cleansing, calms, and provides the perfect preparation to receive further nutrition. 

Rule of 5% in cosmetic formulations
↑Above 5% AHAs tend to be more exfoliating
↓Below 5%, AHAs tend to be more moisturizing