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our beloved staple, near perfection.

red flower introduces vegan, gluten-free
`flowers hold life’ body washes and lotions

By Shari Mycek


red flower‘s ‘flowers hold life‘ collection of purifying body washes and moisturizing body lotions was already close to perfect - heavenly fragrant, earth friendly, and packing a powerful cocktail of antioxidants to effectively repair and hydrate the skin.




But the signature body washes and lotions were not (yet) 100 percent vegan and gluten-free - a fact that weighed on the mind of red flower creator Yael Alkalay. As the mother of a gluten-sensitive child, she knew only too well the sensitivities many - including spa-goers and wellness-seekers - face in trying to follow an allergen-free (food and skin care) diet.




And so, Alkalay went back into the lab - to study, research, explore, and ultimately transform her signature `flowers hold life’ purifying body washes and moisturizing body lotions into 100 percent gluten-free, vegan products. The process proved both challenging and exhilarating. Every ingredient used in a red flower formulation is hand-selected for its specific medicinal property, as well as its collaborative effect, one with the other. Red Flower also adheres to a strict, ‘no-go’ list of ingredients such as nuts (allergy sensitive) and palm oil (harmful to the environment). So in the transformation to vegan/gluten-free, a few wonderfully rich ingredients - like wheat germ and wildflower honey - had to be removed and replaced with equally effective ingredients.


The result: a new certified-organic, fruit flower and leaf healing extract added to the `flowers hold life’ purifying body wash. And a new botanical fruit and leaf-nourishing butter to the moisturizing body lotion.


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Certified Organic Fruit, Flower and Leaf Healing Extract
Flowers Hold Life Purifying Body Wash


This powerful new elixir, now the core of red flower’s purifying body wash, is comprised of certified organic apples, cucumbers, ginger, green tea and chamomile flowers culled locally from Flying Rabbit, Frosty Morning and other local farms, and from Bay’s End Farm in Massachusetts.


In creating the extract, the five simple ingredients were mixed together (the green tea and chamomile in a giant spice bag), the rest chopped, and covered with distilled water and then heated. A large paddle was used to stir the mixture, which was left to steep for about three days, covered, staying heated the entire time. After the three days, the solids were strained out from the liquid and cold-pressed in a juicer to extract as much as possible from them.




Now, much less water-based than before and with the fruit, flower and leaf healing extract as its core, the newly formulated body wash is richer in texture. And more potent in delivery - working to stimulate, repair and strengthen the skin, leaving it feeling energized and toned, while still deeply cleansing (without drying) and delicately scenting the skin.


“Something as simple as a daily shower can be a luxurious cure.“ - Yael Alkalay.


Each of the five ingredients comprising the fruit, flower and leaf healing extract was hand-selected for its unique medicinal properties:




Ginger has a long history of medicinal use, traced back in the US, to early colonists who concocted ‘ginger beer’ to ease upset stomach and nausea. A powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger is gaining recognition for its ability to reduce acne and skin inflammation. Ginger is also known to improve circulation and relieve muscle-and-joint pain.


Chamomile, native to Europe and particularly Germany, France, Spain and parts of Eastern Europe, has been used since ancient times for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. The active ingredients in the plant come from its daisy-like flowers, rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. Topically, chamomile is used for soothing irritated skin and rashes including eczema, minor burns and sunburns. Chamomile oil is best-documented for its calming and relaxing effect.


Apples, are of course, one of the best-known fruits - the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,“ has been circulating since the 1800s. High in vitamins A, C, and E, apples help to boost the immune system, repair damaged skin cells and exfoliate skin.


Green Tea extract is a derivation from green tea leaves and contains a powerhouse of antioxidants, reportedly 20 times more than Vitamin C. Green tea works well as an inflammatory and has proven to be effective in neutralizing the damage caused by exposure to UV rays.


Cucumbers, a member of the melon family, cucumbers contain skin-softening and anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. They help to repair and strengthen connective tissues, as well as to help reduce sun damage. Cucumbers are chock full of vitamins C and K, known to fight dark circles under the eyes. Vitamin B-5, another compound found in cucumbers, helps the skin retain moisture, while Vitamin A fights dark spots and freckles as it helps control the production of melanin.




Botanical Fruit and Leaf Nourishing Butter
Flowers Hold Life Moisturizing Body Lotion

In red flower’s second product reformulation - its signature `flowers hold life’ moisturizing body lotion - the goal was, again, to create a completely vegan, gluten-free product.


Added to the lotion’s formula of whole flower extracts, omega-6, vitamin-rich oils and butters (a rich source of gamma linoleic acid) - the new botanical fruit and leaf butter extract. Powerfully moisturizing. And with a rich, buttery texture and application.


The ‘butter,‘ which draws from three main ingredients: aloe barbadensis leaf, avocado oil and coconut butter works to soothe and protect the skin against the sun and environmental elements, and promote cell regeneration and capillary circulation. The benefit of each ingredient used in the butter is multiple:



Aloe barbadensis leaf juice is more commonly known as aloe vera, contains more than 200 nutritional substances including minerals, amino acids vitamins and active enzymes. In skin care, aloe vera carries the status of super star - for the skin’s ability to absorb its key ingredients up to seven layers deep. And for the plant’s impressive number of vitamins, including A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, E, Choline and folic acid. Aloe is best known for soothing the skin and protecting from UV damage, and serving as a potent anti-inflammatory.


Avocado oil, often coined “Mother Nature’s skin moisturizer,” is high in vitamins A, E, and D, all of which work to eliminate the free radicals that age skin. Intensely nourishing, avocado oil is the most healing treatment for some forms of dermatitis and eczema. It helps to reduce the appearance of age spots and protects from the damaging effects of the sun.


Coconut butter, chock full of fats, acts as an emollient providing a softening and soothing effect by effectively penetrating into the deeper layers of the skin, strengthening the underlying tissues and improving skin elasticity.


`Flowers hold life’ purifying body washes and moisturizing body lotions are available in all of the line’s signature scents: indian jasmine, ocean, icelandic moonflower, italian blood orange, french lavender, moroccon rose, japanese peony and spanish gardenia.




Why is Gluten-Free Important in Skin Care


A gluten-free diet is one that excludes the protein gluten - found in grains like barley, wheat, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Gluten is known to cause inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. While it’s rare to find rye and barley in skin care products, the use of wheat and oat derivatives is widespread. Oat contains skin-soothing compounds, and is often found in bath soaks, bars of soap, and in body scrubs. Wheat is even more common, often in the form of wheat germ oil. Because the skin- the body’s largest organ - quickly absorbs all ingredients, it’s important for those with sensitivities to gluten to eliminate any wheat or oat derivatives and use only the purest skin care products.


Say No to Palm Oil.


A type of edible vegetable oil used in many food and beauty products in the US, palm oil is derived from the palm fruit. It grows typically in Western Africa and has been linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change and animal cruelty. The orangutan, in particular, has become a charismatic icon for deforestation in Borneo and Sumatra. Over 90 percent of orangutan habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years, with an estimated 1000-5000 orangutans killed each year for palm oil expansion development.