I feel like most people are searching for the product or person that will magically perfect their skin. Daron Hope, holistic esthetician and developer of the product line, EarthTonics is a healing force to be reckoned with. Since this woman came into my life, my skin has never seen better days.
Daron, who has a beautiful spa in Ojai, California, has a starkly different approach to skin than most estheticians I have visited. Her practice is dynamic and incorporates massage, herbal wisdom from around the world, EarthTonic products that are hand-blended botanical remedies, frequency specific microcurrents, therapeutic colored light, and ancient Ayurvedic massage tools made of kansa (also known in India as “the healing metal,” and what Daron refers to as her “long lost tools from a lifetime past”).
It’s a facial unlike any I have experienced. She also works from the principle of “DO NOT HARM," meaning that every part of her treatment supports the integrity of your skin. For example, many facialists do their routine extractions, but for my skin, Daron said that this act might actually be more damaging long term. “Often people get angry at their skin for going through its natural process of detoxification and elimination. Rather than pinching and squeezing and causing inflammation, Daron prefers to use clarifying herbs, color therapy and healing frequency to speed healing and address the skin from a more holistic perspective.
She goes on to explain that while peels and many machines often seem to work immediately, they’re actually injuring the skin, causing a wound response— burning, abrading or irritating the face. In the long term, this trauma can lead to redness, hyper pigmentation, scarring or drying to the skin.
Western media communicates to us that we must have perfect skin and achieve that by any means necessary. However, I have found with Daron's less invasive, more integrative facials and products, she has actually solved many of the deep-rooted problems I had always wished to cure. I just never thought to approach the skin in this more nourishing way. Another aspect that I appreciate is that Daron teaches her clients to observe and listen to their skin. The body communicates what is going on by what shows up on the outside, often right where we can’t miss it. So whether is be stress, environmental toxins, or a food that irritates us, we can tune in, pay attention, and have this healthy dialogue with our body, instead of scrutinizing, picking and attacking any disruption we may discover.
The following products I have used consistently (for about 4 months) & have changed my skin:
honey and bamboo facial scrub
the botanical toning mist
SEABUCKTHORN AND BASIL eye serum
forest and flower aromatic
the repair creme concentrate
I find that these products use high quality botanicals, work to heal and hydrate my skin and smell divine. Daron uses her products with state-of-the-art microcurrent technology to literally send healing vibration to the skin. She explains that these gentle bio-frequencies provide a rhythm for the cells to dance to in unison, eliminating scattered and wasted energy to promote profound healing from the inside out. It also helps the products to penetrate the skin more deeply.
She also uses gua sha and facial massage tools made of kansa bronze, the same resonant metal used to make sacred gongs and bells in the East. Her technique opens up the marma points, which change the electro magnetic field on the skin to allow better flow through the meridian points. After about 30 minutes, I am in a deep meditative trance-like healing state. It is so nice to come up to her space in Ojai because there aren’t any cars honking, there is one main road, and majestic mountains enclose the landscape -- and you are literally healing from such a deep place. You can’t help but relax, get present and experience your skin changing right before your very eyes.
Q&A with Daron Hope of EarthTonics
Q: What inspired you to create your product line?
A: At the time I was creating the first products for EarthTonics, I was 19 years old and had just moved back from New York City. I had spent my whole life growing up in the Ojai Valley, so NYC was an exciting, albeit strange, departure from the naturalness I had been surrounded by as a kid. When I came back I was craving a creative outlet and something to reconnect me with home, with nature, and I wanted to love what I did everyday for work. Ever since I’d been a kid, I always loved mixing things, imagining I was a witch or wizard, and in my teens really got into DIY skincare. I had far from perfect skin in my youth and when I was 16 or 17 had created some simple natural remedies that completely changed my skin for the better. I was blown away by the healing power of simple herbs and plants, and became very interested in learning about herbalism. When I returned to California and started creating I just couldn't do enough reading or research to satisfy all that I wanted to know about plants and how they affect our bodies. I recognize now that this voracity to learn and delve deeper-- this is the way plants speak to us. They invite us energetically to learn and participate with them. We are all capable of creating plant medicine for ourselves if we listen to our curiosity.
Q: How long did it take you to come up with the final recipes?
A: Ideas for products come in lightning fast, but dialing them in to an amazing final product is a very long process. Creating something new involves rounds and rounds of revisions to hone in on a specific formula.
I always use individual ingredients on their own, first, to get a sense of how they feel…. to better understand their energetics and effects. During this process I see myself as a kind of skincare chef, tasting each ingredient. Then there is the magic of combining the ingredients and creating a meal for the skin. When different botanicals combine there is a beautiful synergy created— the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Tweaking the formulas is all about getting the most out of these combinations.
After I think I’ve got something good, it’s time for lots of testing... on myself, my friends, my family, my (willing) clients. Honestly, I never really consider my recipes final, even if they've stayed the same for years like they have, for instance, with my best-selling Repair Creme Concentrate. I continually revisit, because I'm always discovering ways to enhance the products whether it's adjusting the ratio of ingredients or stirring the batch a certain way (seriously!).
Q: Can someone with any type of skin use your products?
A: Yes. Most of my products work for most people. There are a few reasons for this: First, any oils I use are highly penetrating to the skin; their molecular structure is small enough to actually sink below the surface, rather than forming an occlusive barrier layer over the top. This allows the skin to breathe while receiving an enormous amount of nutrition.
Also, my line focuses on balancing and brightening. Every customer and client I've met wants these things, regardless of their perceived “skin type." What varies more from person to person is how much of a product to use and how often. That’s why I like to empower my customers and clients to tune in and notice what their bodies are asking for… Our skin changes day to day and we can become highly attuned healers for ourselves if we begin to notice the subtleties and take time and awareness in our self-care practice. The body talks by means of the skin and it will tell you exactly what it needs. Let your intuition guide you and always care for yourself with kind, loving hands.
Q: Where do you source your ingredients?
A: Our ingredients are curated from all corners of the globe-- either ethically wild-harvested or organically grown. And of course I love using local ingredients whenever they're available... such as lavender, helichrysum, sage, and honey. I’m also excited to begin growing some ingredients from seed in my newly erected greenhouse! I’m real pumped… I feel that caring for the plants in this way will awaken a deeper level of connection and respect for their healing power. If all goes well, I hope to begin formulating with some homegrown ingredients in new limited edition products.
Q: What are some of your other daily holistic practices that support your well being?
A: Feeling my best comes from staying present in my body. I do this by stretching, dancing, and moving in any way I can, and often. I've been practicing Taoist Yoga for a number of years now, and my informal home practice involves making circles through all the joints in my body, both directions. Energy stagnates in the joints, so keeping these points clear is key, especially if your lifestyle lends itself to any repetitive movements (sitting, typing, driving, texting). It's a simple practice and always feels good.
I also use my Kansa wands daily. These are Ayurvedic massage tools that I use in my facial practice; they are out of this world! In India, kansa is known as the healing metal. This metal is a fantastic conductor of electro-magnetism and it has a high resonance. This makes it an ideal material for moving subtle energy in the body to detoxify tissues and remove stagnation that shows up as aches, pains, tension and wrinkles. I massage my face with them almost daily, and my forearms/hands too, since they get so much use in my work. I’m so thankful to have discovered their magic.
Q: Who are some of your favorite bloggers or people on social media that inspire you?
A: I do my best to limit my online time, but I love checking in on what Shiva Rose (The Local Rose) is up to. Also love the hauntingly beautiful photography of @nothinmist, and amazing childbirth stories and photography @empoweredbirthproject. I find these women to be absolutely inspiring. I also really love a good podcast, because I can listen while I’m driving, working, or tidying up… my favorite is the Duncan Trussell Family Hour. Duncan is a truth-seeker and hilarious dude/comedian who discusses aspects of human nature, mysticism, conspiracy and the like with other hilarious and/or brilliant guests.
Q: What other brands do you love and trust?
A: I have friends doing some amazing things…and the awesome thing is they're doing what they love with such integrity. They are committed to clean, luxurious creating. Some of my fave’s are:
Becky Boo Underarm by my girl Vanessa Bley. She’s created the holy grail of non-toxic deodorants. They work great, smell incredible, and have this amazing cream cheese frosting consistency that just melts into your pits!
Kefirology by my friend Erin Regan. I use her product in my facials to replace harsh chemical peels. It's a raw kefir goat's cream from her herd of beloved animals. It’s full of probiotics and natural lactic acids that are incredible for clarifying and brightening the skin.
Sigil Scent by Patrick Kelly. This lovely fellow maker has really nailed some incredible natural fragrances. It is so hard to find long-wearing scents that are actually as clean as they advertise… Sigil Scent are legitimately non-toxic and my nose is addicted to the earthy, mossy forest-y notes that Patrick has created.
Q: What is your grand vision for EarthTonics?
A: I feel called to restore the sacred feminine, our divine healing nature, in whatever way I can. In the "beauty industry,” I feel the feminine is so often viewed through a patriarchal lens…. We’re conditioned to hate ourselves, to fix our "flaws,” and to be ageless. It distracts us from enjoying life. I want to offer people a means by which to love and celebrate these amazing Earth bodies we get to inhabit!
My passion in life is to spread kindness, and to help people feel relaxed and comfortable so that they’re able to fall more deeply in love with themselves and this experience of life. I dream of traveling and learning from healers all over the world, bringing forth their offerings in my own way to perpetuate a kinder, more compassionate and balanced people and planet. How that will manifest through my work? I will just have to wait and see! I look forward to the journey.
Q: What are the key ingredients to make a super life?
A: A firm foundation of gratitude. A sense of humor. And balance— raucous adventure one day, deep self care the next.
But hey, I’m open to suggestions!