woman in yellow bikini, againse yellow background, showing papays and AYA Balm, our hard-working, multi-tasking balm that does it all.

AYA Balm explores the rich, vibrant and magnificent spectrum of yellow!

Did you know there are forty-eight words to describe the word yellow in the English language? Honestly, I am not sure I could name five of them. What I do know is why each batch of AYA Balm, our hard-working multi-tasking balm that does it all, is always a different shade of yellow.

This vibrant variation is a testament to our commitment to natural ingredients. We're on a journey to explore the story of skincare, from its ancient origins to the beauty revolution of natural ingredients taking centre stage today.

A Timeless Discussion: Redefining Beauty Rituals

To understand and explain how our AYA Balm is always a different shade of yellow, I want to go through the story of skincare, from its natural origins in ancient cultures to the exponential expansion of the industry, only to return to its original natural beginnings. Today, the natural beauty movement drives the skin care industry toward safer ingredients, ethical practices, and a focus on wellness.

The topic of skincare is a timeless discussion, stretching back to the era of the Pharaohs. Who doesn’t remember hearing how Cleopatra bathed in sour milk to improve the feel, touch and appearance of her skin? Throughout history, numerous ancient cultures have used natural ingredients in their beauty rituals. Ingredients like sea salts for exfoliation, essential oils as fragrances and therapeutic remedies, carrier oils for skin softening, soothing and inflammation relief, and the forever famous milk baths for moisturising have been recorded as being part of their skincare routine.

Today, we know that milk contains lactic acid, which, when used correctly in skincare products, has bountiful benefits for the skin. Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, an ingredient used widely in skin care formulation today. I would like to know how Cleopatra and her contemporaries knew sour milk would produce magical results. Was it instinct, trial and error, or a profound sense and understanding of the natural realm surrounding them?

In Ancient India, there were many recorded beauty regimes and rituals. The practice of the Ayurvedic tradition, dating back 3000 years, was a significant influencing factor in their skincare routine. Many of these beauty rituals are still used today, such as Ubtans, a face mask made up of a base of chickpea flour, sandalwood, and turmeric paste enhanced by a selection of naturally nourishing ingredients like rose water, sour milk, saffron, neem powder, orange, and lemon peel. Vogue India wrote an article on Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who has an exquisite complexion and uses Ubtans even today. 

Notice how sour milk (lactic acid) is used in different ways by Cleopatra and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, separated. They are separated by centuries but still immersed in age-old natural skincare regimes. On that note, if it's good enough for Cleopatra and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, it is good enough for me.

So, what changed? As we can see from the above, skincare was deeply immersed and created from natural ingredients, which are closely connected to their natural source and closely identifiable to nature in their format. 

As a result of the Industrial Revolution and subsequent advancement in chemistry and medicine, there was the exponential development of innovative ingredients creating new skincare formulations and treatments, The most significant implication of the advancement in mass production and technological development was the increase in the use of synthetic ingredients in skincare products.  Not only are these ingredients cheaper and, in some instances, more sustainable for the environment, but they are also cheaper and mostly more consistent and standardised. Using synthetic ingredients in a well-constructed formula allows for consistent and standardised beauty products to satisfy the demands and needs of a growing skincare consumer base. But again, with every development and advancement, there are two sides to the coin. There is no question that any well-constructed skincare formulation needs to have a healthy preservative structure, preferably natural (and you will need to work out what natural means to you), to stabilise and ensure that the product isn’t susceptible to degradation and become dangerous to use. As a skincare brand, synthetic ingredients are cheaper and more consistent; your ingredients are entirely dependable, and if you follow the same process, you are guaranteed the same product every time.

However, at AYA Natural Skin,  there is an element ‘lost in translation’ with the choice of some synthetic ingredient. In the case of Vitamin E oil, when in its natural source (which for AYA Natural Skin means as close to ‘seed’ as possible), it has a multitude of benefits, including the ability to increase the shelf life of carrier oils like jojoba oil, sesame oil, or grapeseed oil to name a few. On the other hand, the synthetic version is only around 12% as potent as a natural vitamin E oil and cannot extend the shelf life of a carrier oil as its natural counterpart. So, while it feels the same, looks the same and appears to be the same, it isn’t the same. 

The skincare industry has seen a beauty revolution towards natural and sustainable practices. These developments and reactions to the changes in the skincare industry were far more interesting. One of the outcomes of the over-development and exploitation of natural resources was the growing awareness and utilisation of biodynamic principles and permaculture methods, and finding more sustainable natural ways of growing as a whole started to emerge. One of the oldest organic ranges, Dr Hauschka (fan person moment), pioneered growing their ingredients according to natural, organic, and biodynamic principles and ethically sourcing ingredients they don't grow. Essentially, they were the pioneers of the natural and organic skin-care industry. Here at AYA Natural Skin, we refer to them as the “Chanel of Organic Skincare.”

At AYA Natural Skin, we have chosen the natural route (being as close to ‘seed’ as possible) as that meets our needs and is most suited to our life ethos. However, we must point out that not everything chemical is harmful to you, and by the same token, not everything natural is good for you. Whenever I read a product description that states it is chemical-free and the first ingredient is Aqua, we just can't take the brand seriously: what exactly is chemical-free? Is water not a chemical?   

So where does that leave us with the AYA Balm and the exploration of the rich, vibrant and magnificent spectrum of yellow? We will always choose natural ingredients, as close to seed as possible, wherever possible. In the case of our beeswax, this has a back story. I used leftover beeswax from my husband's permaculture garden while playing and learning to make AYA Balm in the early stages of AYA Natural Skin. I had little to no knowledge of the cosmetic industry. When I finished my supply, I purchased beeswax from a well-known industry supplier who assured me it was natural and used it in our formula. I have sensitive skin, and my lips soon started to peel. My lips always peeled whenever I used commercial lip balms bought over the counter, without a second thought to the ingredient list, might I add. I began to investigate and found a magnificent beekeeper who told me, in no uncertain terms, that if it doesn’t taste like beeswax, doesn’t feel like beeswax or smell like beeswax, don’t use it. That started AYA Natural Skin's journey into understanding and embracing what natural ingredients meant to us. Today, we only buy beeswax from beekeepers we know and are comfortable with how they manage and maintain their bee hives. We also only purchase beeswax from beekeepers in the Western Cape of South Africa as these bees are known to be able to regroup and requeen themselves. They are the only bees not considered to be on the endangered list.  

In Nature, there is a beautiful paradox where everything follows a pattern yet retains its unique essence. There are four seasons every year, yet each has its own story, distinct sameness, and different beauty to bring to this magnificent planet. The sun consistently illuminates our beautiful world, yet it does so in diverse and ever-changing patterns. Likewise, rain falls with a rhythm and story, arriving at familiar times but continuously varying in intensity, temperature and quantity.

Beeswax is made by magnificent and hardworking bees, making Beeswax an integral part of nature’s intricate reality. While their tasks follow a prescribed pattern and process, the result of their beautiful labour is wholly contingent on the diverse elements of the natural environment and the nuances of nature they encounter. Ultimately, it depends on the types of flowers they forage on. I have yet to receive two identical orders of beeswax. We clean and strain our beeswax to ensure we standardise our process as much as possible.   

Raw fermented Papaya is our active ingredient in AYA Balm. We select our papaya from chosen growers committed to sustainable and biodynamic farming methods. Meaning that these farmers are in tune with the natural world around them, ensuring each harvest reflects the unique rhythms of nature. Nature being the wondrous force it is, no two harvests or papayas are ever the same. Using an age-old fermentation technique for our papayas infused with spices and plant extracts from suppliers that match our ethos, each batch has its distinct colour, smell, and touch. 

AYA Balm consists of natural ingredients, meaning these ingredients are as close to their original format as possible and have gone through minimal processing. Our selected ingredients are grown ethically and with care. We can always guarantee the efficacy and healing properties of AYA Balm; each batch follows the same formula, procedures, love and care every time. Now, we get to forty-eight shades of yellow in AYA Balm. Sometimes, AYA balm is a light amber, other times more like a butterscotch, and sometimes a bright yellow like the sun's peak on a hot summer day. Whatever yellow hue your AYA Balm has, know our ingredients are as natural and vibrant as we can source. Our hard-working, multi-tasking balm is always affected by the nuances of nature, which shows up in it’s many magnificent hues of yellow.  


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