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August 3, 2012
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Do-it-yourself beauty product making workshop Thursday

Take personal care into your own hands with assistance by Erica Ragusa of Ambika Massage Therapy, who will offer a workshop on making your own beauty and personal care products Thursday at the Fuqua Livery Stable in Breckenridge. Participants will use aromatic essential oils, pure herbs and natural ingredients to make a cellulite-reducing sea salt body scrub, a skin-firming body oil, a moisturizing facial oil and an anti-inflammatory facial toner. The workshop is offered through the Breckenridge Arts District. Here's what Ragusa had to say about the event:

We set up tables and I demonstrate the actual product making at the front of the room and pass different ingredients around for students to smell, touch and see. I talk about the uses of the ingredients and how they come together to create the finished product. For many of the formulations, students get to pick out their ingredients and make their own product.

"Green" is a term that describes the manufacturing, composition and ultimately the disposal of the products made in this workshop. We manufacture them in a green way because we are doing it ourselves and that lessens our environmental impact. The ingredients are green because the chemical constituents of the ingredients are not synthetic, and a lot of times that is where allergic sensitivities arise. Often when people relate that they are allergic to a certain scent or fragrance, it is a synthetic version that is the culprit and not the real essence. Also the products are free of petroleum, which is ubiquitous in mainstream personal care products and has no healing benefit to the skin but is really an unhealthy filler ingredient. Petroleum is not biodegradable and is not able to be absorbed by our skin. It really just forms a layer over the skin - think of an oil spill -blocking pores and not allowing the skin to absorb moisture or detoxify. Finally, we think of the packaging of our products and only use those materials that are easy to recycle or reuse.

People become acquainted with natural ingredients that can be used in so many different applications to benefit them on both a medicinal and cosmetic level. People also gain an appreciation for personal care products that do not contain synthetic ingredients and become more informed about what they may be putting on their bodies every day.

One of my students has gone on to create her own soybean wax candle company, Breckenridge Candle Cabin, as an alternative to the synthetic chemicals found in paraffin-wax candles. I think this is a testament to the sense of personal responsibility and responsibility for the environment that is strengthened among those who attend this class.

Ambika Therapies is the company I started a year-and-a-half ago. It has an office on S. Ridge Street in Breckenridge, right next to the seafood grill. It is a cozy place where we offer Ayurvedic treatments, medical massage therapy, one-on-one yoga and of course, our handmade products. All of the products are featured in our treatments, like our arnica massage oil or our rosemary-peppermint foot salve. You can learn more at

It has been a full-fledged part of my brand since I started the company; however it is something I have experimented with for years before creating my line. My products are listed on my website or can be bought in my office. I also welcome special orders.

I am choosy! I like Mountain Rose Herbs and Elizabeth Van Buren Essential Oils, which are special-order companies. However, many of the ingredients can be found at Natural Grocers.

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The Summit Daily Updated Aug 3, 2012 08:32AM Published Aug 3, 2012 08:27AM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.