Steady exposure at an impressionable age to British tabloid newspapers has left me with an incurable fondness for terrible puns. Who would have thought that I would one day find a soul mate in the form of a relentlessly sporty, outdoorsy cowgirl. When I received samples from Holly Beatie’s High Sierra Botanicals, I picked up a pot at random and burst out laughing. It was called Let Scar Go (I’ll let you work it out).
Harmoneyes raised a snigger as well, as did Dermanator. Holly is clearly not a woman who fears flogging a good idea to death: the whole range goes on in the same vein. I am about to embark on a test of Wrinkle Wrangler (a night cream), but in the meantime, a scratched hand prompted me to try out Ah Mend (.5 oz $8.50, 1.7 oz $22). Well, I am certainly giving thanks. This pot of healing salve is a little miracle worker. Stinging was soothed faster than I could say wow, dude (not that I ever would, mind). Several applications and a day later, a healthy scab had formed on the worst and the other scratches were almost gone.
Ah Mend, like most of High Sierra’s products, is very concentrated. There isn’t even water, let alone a filler. Holly Beatie formulates her potions and lotions herself using wild-crafted herbs and a secret concoction of flower essences. Being obviously of a practical disposition and, as I mentioned, outdoorsy, it isn’t surprising that her first hit product was a big spray (called a little lamely, if I may say, Bug Brew). Anyway, back to Ah Mend.
Almost all the ingredients seem to have been chosen for the anti-inflammatory and irritation soothing properties, such as vitamin A and C rich plaintain. Fireweed especially caught my attention. This extract, also called willowherb and by its posh name, epilobium angustifolium, contains antiseptic compounds (which inhibit bacterial growth and some believe that it might help acne) and anti-inflammatory substances. This and its potent anti-irritant effects are due to a kind of tannin called oenothein-B that is one of the dominant compounds in fireweed. Also worthy of a shout out is St John’s Wort contains a component, hypericin, that has anti-inflammatory, nervine (calming) and antiseptic properties. Others tests have shown it to possess anti-microbial properties. All in all, it’s generally soothing to the skin and healing to wounds. As is star solomon’s seal, although I couldn’t find any research to back it up.
Ah Mend isn’t a sexy, cutting edge anti-ager, but it will be a bathroom cabinet essential of mine on call to tend to the tender. Whether Wrinkle Wrangler will get me by the horns, as Hollie might say, remains to be seen.
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Ingredients in Ah Mend:
Sunflower, grapeseed, almond, jojoba, wheat germ oils; Aloe; Beeswax; Honey; Herbal extracts of Marshmallow, Yarrow, Plantain, Comfrey Root, St. John's Wort, Fireweed, Vervain, Star Solomon's Seal; Essential oils of Juniper Berry, Lavender, Clary Sage, Myrrh, Elemi, Chamomile; 6 Flower Essences.
Ingredients in Wrinkle Wrangler:
Oils: Apricot, Hemp, Olive, Coconut, Jojoba, Grapeseed, Wheat Germ, Rosehip; Lanolin; Aloe; Cocoa, Shea, Mango butters; Mimosa wax; Manuka Honey; Raw Silk; Rosewater; Herbal extracts: Angelica seed, Selfheal, St. John's Wort, Comfrey Leaf, Seaweed, Horsetail, Rosemary; Citric Acid; Essential oils of Elemi, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Myrrh, Neroli, Orange, Fennel, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Cedar, Carrot seed; 14 Flower Essences.