Matcha & Mask: A Conversation with Bee Ham of H IS FOR LOVE
Oh, Bee. Where do I begin with this radiant magic maker?
Although Bee and I are coasts apart, we've been able to share some very special conversations, all thanks to Instagram. There's beauty in social media if you learn to crowd out the chaos and follow those who endlessly inspire. Bee of H IS FOR LOVE is one of them. A true force when it comes to holistic skincare.
Bee put her career in cosmetology on the back burner and chose to focus on something that could promote purity and a clean option which would work with a person’s chemistry rather than covering it up or stripping it down. Instead of promoting a negative outlook on aging and creating services and product lines that aim towards ‘perfection’ of youth, Bee has drawn wisdom and inspiration from cultures throughout history who have looked to nature for health and wellness, healing, nourishment and prosperity and discovered that nature is enough. (Read her full story here.)
Through discovery and my own curiosity, I found Bee online and was fascinated by her story and her beautiful, raw snaps that provide a transparent view into her life and her love not only for skincare, but for overall wellbeing. As I had recently begun my journey in making the switch to holistically formulated, toxin-free skincare, I found myself nearly drooling over her product ingredient lists: French green clay, camu camu, turmeric, raw cacao, vanilla bean, sweet cinnamon...it was as though she had combined some of my favorite edibles into an indulgent face mask. (Bee, let's just go ahead put all of this into an actual raw cacao chocolate bar). Every ingredient could easily be pronounced, as it should be when it comes to skincare products. And the name: PROPOLIS. It sounds like the name of a mask fit for a goddess, the goddesses that all of us are.
Needless to say, she had me hooked in a heart beat. My first two H IS FOR LOVE products that I graciously welcomed in to my self-care skincare routine were PROPOLIS and POLLEN. The tingling feeling of the regenerative mask on my face was a sign of the mask purifying my skin and the illuminating mist was a tickle to my face, nourishing it deeply with cooling and soothing aloe and naturally balancing the pH of my skin. Yum.
In fact, during my recent trip to Costa Rica this past spring, POLLEN Mist was the only skincare product that I brought along with me and I was amazed at the condition of my skin by using just that product. I'm sure the daily ritual of soaking in the salt water and going completely makeup-free was a part of it, but just the kiss of the mist on my face throughout the day kept my skin balanced and clean.
Every shipment has included a personal handwritten love note from Bee herself along with samples of other products from her line. She understands the challenge of buying products without being able to experience them first, so she sweetly includes a few every time, of which I've been able to dabble around with. It's like being a kid in a candy shop waiting for her shipments to arrive, wondering what she'll have up her sleeve next.
Bee's products have truly helped to make my self-care rituals a sweet moment of solitude and indulgence for myself. I love winding down at the end of the day, usually after a yoga practice, with her PROPOLIS mask while propping myself into my favorite restorative pose. Legs against the wall, so delicious. I also love to begin my day fresh out of bed with a mist of POLLEN before heading into the kitchen to whip up my morning matcha blend. Morning matcha is one of my absolute favorite daily nourishing rituals just as Bee's products are a non-negotiable part of my skincare rituals.
Which brought me to this silly little idea that I had of holding a virtual conversation and Q&A with Bee over two of our favorite rituals: matcha-ing & mask-ing. True nourishment from the inside out, and outside in. Bee bought into it and I'm so grateful to be sharing her love and beauty and passion for skincare and wellbeing with you.
So let's begin this morning with our favorite matcha blends, shall we?
Lately, I've been experimenting with adaptogenic herbs to create a matcha blend that helps to boost my overall wellbeing and provide me with sustained energy and hormonal balance. Experiment after experiment, I truly believe that I've crafted a potently delicious blend that I have come to crave every single day. Here's my (not-so-secret) secret:
- Quality grade matcha powder (energy & antioxidants)
- Macadamia nut milk (calcium, Vitamins D & B12)
- Pine pollen (hormonal balance)
- Ashitaba (vegan blood builder)
- Green adaptogen (energy & immune function)
- Vanilla Mushroom Protein Powder (thyroid & adrenal support)
I completely understand that some of you may find adaptogenic herbs to be a bit too much for your personal liking (although, I always encourage you to familiarize yourself with new things), therefore matcha + your favorite nut milk + optional protein powder + raw honey is a wonderful way to start.
I admit, Bee inspired me with the beautiful way she topped her morning matcha, but it's not very surprising that we both went right for the bee pollen to sprinkle on top. In fact, bee pollen is a beauty food with high levels of vitamin B to combat acne and wrinkles.
And now, for Bee! We'll bring the spotlight right back to her as she shares her morning matcha blend (best enjoyed with a chunk of artisanal dark chocolate) over some inspiring skincare conversations.
What goes in to your favorite morning matcha blend?
Oh, matcha. I remember once telling my husband one particular year that for my birthday and Christmas that I would like a lifetime supply of matcha. I have had a love affair with this healthy beverage. Lately I love adding bee pollen and maca. I feel amazing when I take incorporate maca root into my diet daily.
What's your favorite H IS FOR LOVE product & what inspired it?
A favorite is nearly impossible to pick. I created them, initially, for myself so I never stopped formulating until I was head over heels with each. Lately I’ve been appreciating PROPOLIS a lot. That mask is magic. It can be used simply as a mask, or an exfoliant and can be mixed with honey, yogurt, our mist POLLEN or some other nourishing liquid like aloe or a hydrosol. The feeling it causes depends on the state of my body/skin. For example, sometimes I feel it tingle as it dries, and sometimes I don’t. It’s full of vitamin C from freshly dried Camu Camu, antibacterial turmeric, antioxidant raw cacao and vanilla bean, and minerals from the earth.
Nutrition is a passion of mine so creating a mask to compliment our line was about combining my knowledge of skincare and bodily nourishment. I wanted it to contain real, food-grade ingredients that could deliver vitamins and minerals to this important organ but it also needed to purify. It was a really fun time of experimentation until I got it just right. I take a lot of time finding the perfect sources for our ingredients. For example, with raw cacao powder, everything from the growing and harvesting practices, to the drying and grinding must be considered when it comes to sourcing a powder that still contains the wonderful benefits of cacao in its raw form.
What holistic skincare practices and products would you recommend to someone who is trying to be more mindful of their self-care rituals?
Learn to read your skin! It’s always going to tell you what it wants.
Cleansers and moisturizers are really important. Many cleansers strip skin of its natural oils. If executed properly, cleansing with a well balanced oil can be a game changer. Since our skin produces oil, it understands oil.
Also, skin usually wants less done to it. Our bodies are always seeking balance, so if you give your skin what it needs from the inside and outside it will usually figure itself out. Cleanse with a gentle cleanser, balance the pH of your skin with a mist and apply oil as a moisturizer to damp skin. If you wear makeup, use the natural kind and be sure to wash it off at night before bed. Free radicals attach themselves to dirt and grime from the day and can do major damage if left overnight regularly. Exfoliate when necessary. Use a purifying mask once a week. Know when you need more/less moisture, or more/less in general. The transition to natural can be overwhelming at first, but take it one empty product replacement at a time if you need to. There will be a transition period as your skin becomes accustomed to each change. But for long-term beauty/graceful aging/actual nourishment of skin, natural is the only way to go. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the number one way to care for skin: diet. Not a diet, but diet. Eating real food, avoiding pesticides, GMOs, any animal product that wasn’t raised on green grass in pasture, refined sugar, and drinking a lot of water. Eat a real food source of probiotics daily (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, homemade yogurt, beet kvass, etc.) and watch your skin glow!
What self-care rituals are non-negotiable for you?
Well, skincare is obviously a big deal for me now, but it never used to be. I spent the first 30 something years of my life riding on the coattails of youth. But on my journey to the pretty extreme side of natural, I started to notice the years creeping in and catching up to me. I love just the simple act of taking time to care for my skin each day, noticing the small lines here and there, and looking in the mirror and embracing age with grace. I have earned those times to love on myself, and also the lines that come with age. I want to grow internally, spiritually, more and more so that as my physical self changes I don’t struggle with a loss of identity. Something about looking in the mirror each day and lavishing myself with precious and sacred ingredients helps me on that path toward wholeness as a woman.
Does crafting your skincare products spark creativity in the kitchen?
Oh yes, it really goes both ways. Working with herbs for H IS FOR LOVE has opened my eyes to how much farther I want to take sourcing our ingredients. I grow herbs in our garden (along with our food) for cooking, and have recently begun growing some herbs with the hope of incorporating them into our skincare line eventually. When I get into the kitchen to cook dinner after a day of making products, it is a seamless transition. I am once again working with herbs, smelling wonderful smells, and experimenting!
What people might not know: proceeds from H IS FOR LOVE are donated to Wellspring International. Do you mind elaborating?
I was given a small sum of money for Mother’s Day one year. Initially, I wanted to donate some of it but after some consideration, my vision became to make it reproduce itself so that I could have a source by which I could give continuously. H IS FOR LOVE grew from this vision. We give 11% of proceeds to Wellspring International because we trust the organization and love the way they care for and empower women and children in the world. As H grows, our giving will grow, too.
What's next for you + your product line?
We just released our cleanser RAPHA! (Read more about this harmonizing oil cleanser here). After that there will be a shiny lip rouge called Lip Glacé. I’m pretty sure we’ll be set for a while once these two are out. The line should demonstrate a philosophy of minimalism. Love what you have, and less is more.
And HEY! Bee was so kind to offer a free, full-size PROPOLIS Regenerative Mask to one of you special readers. Simply provide your honest answer to the following question in the comments below along with your email address. We'll randomly select and contact one of you beauties to receive it, and cannot wait to gift you with one of our H IS FOR LOVE favorites!
What self-care rituals will you start implementing into your daily routine to better nourish yourself from the inside out?
Thank you for hanging out with us and taking the time to educate yourself on the importance of proper skincare. We hope you leave inspired and hungry for deep nourishment and an evening of self-care.
And thank you, thank you, Bee. xx
Shop H Is For Love: